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Keeping It Clean: Why Standing Water Is So Bad For Your Home & Health

stagnant water in a flower pot

The Problem with Stagnant Water

Standing water can wreak havoc on both your home and your health in several ways. Here’s why it’s such a problem:

  1. Structural Damage: Standing water can seep into floors, walls, and foundations, causing structural damage over time. It can weaken wood, cause rot, and even compromise the integrity of your home’s foundation.
  2. Mold Growth: Standing water creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold can grow on almost any surface, including walls, ceilings, carpets, and even furniture. Not only does mold look unsightly, but it also releases spores into the air, which can cause allergic reactions and respiratory issues, especially for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions.
  3. Pest Infestation: Standing water attracts pests like mosquitoes, flies, and rodents. These pests not only carry diseases but can also cause further damage to your home by chewing through wood and insulation.

More Reasons to Avoid Stagnant Water Near Your Home

Besides mold, standing water can harbor bacteria and other pathogens that pose serious health risks. These can lead to gastrointestinal infections, skin infections, and even more severe illnesses. If water gets into electrical outlets, appliances, or wiring, it can create electrical hazards such as short circuits and electrical fires, posing a danger to you and your family. Standing water often develops a foul odor due to the growth of bacteria and mold. This odor can permeate throughout your home, making it unpleasant to live in.

To prevent these issues, it’s crucial to address standing water promptly. Ensure proper drainage around your home, fix leaks in plumbing or roofing, and maintain your gutters and downspouts. If standing water does occur, promptly remove it and thoroughly dry the affected area to prevent mold growth and structural damage. Regular inspections and maintenance can go a long way in keeping your home clean, safe, and free from the problems associated with standing water.

Kitchen Plumbing Essentials: Tips for Maintaining Your Sink, Faucet, and Garbage Disposal

man repairing underneath kitchen sink

Maintaining your kitchen plumbing, including the sink, faucet, and garbage disposal, is essential for ensuring functionality, preventing leaks, and prolonging the lifespan of these fixtures. Here are some tips for maintaining these kitchen plumbing essentials. 

Sink Maintenance

 Clean the sink regularly with mild soap and water to prevent the buildup of dirt, grime, and food residue. Don’t use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads, as they can scratch the sink’s surface. You should also inspect for leaks around the sink’s seals and caulking and repair any leaks promptly to prevent water damage to cabinets and countertops. From time to time, inspect the sink for signs of corrosion or rust, especially around the drain and faucet areas. Replace corroded parts as needed to prevent leaks.

Faucet Maintenance

Cleanse the faucet regularly with a soft cloth and mild cleaner to remove mineral deposits and soap scum. For hard-to-remove deposits, a vinegar solution or a commercial faucet cleaner can help. Check for leaks or drips from the faucet and repair any worn washers, O-rings, or seals. A dripping faucet not only wastes water but can lead to water damage and higher water bills as well. 

Lubricate moving parts of the faucet, such as handles and spouts, with silicone-based grease to prevent sticking and ensure smooth operation. Inspect the faucet’s aerator for buildup of sediment and debris. Clean or replace the aerator as needed to maintain proper water flow and pressure.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance

When disposing of food, run the cold water to help flush away food waste and prevent clogs. Avoid putting large or hard items, such as bones, fruit pits, grease, or fibrous foods (e.g., celery, potato peels), into the garbage disposal, as these can damage the blades or cause clogs.

Periodically clean the garbage disposal by grinding ice cubes and citrus peels to help remove odors and debris. You may also use a garbage disposal cleaner or baking soda and vinegar solution to eliminate odors and keep the disposal smelling fresh.

If your disposal clogs or jams, turn off the power and use a hex wrench to manually rotate the disposal’s flywheel to free the obstruction. Never put your hand or fingers into the disposal while it is powered on.

Plumbing Help in West Los Angeles, CA

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s important to keep all things working as they ought. By proactively inspecting kitchen plumbing from time to time, you can catch and resolve problems before they escalate. 

Routinely inspect under the sink for signs of leaks, drips, or water damage. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage. Familiarize yourself with the location of shut-off valves for the sink and garbage disposal. In case of emergencies, you can quickly turn off the water supply to prevent flooding.

You should also think about scheduling annual maintenance checks with a licensed plumber to inspect and service your kitchen plumbing fixtures, ensuring they remain in good working condition. If you need plumbing service in West Los Angeles, CA, give Sunset West Plumbing & Rooter Inc. a call at (310) 454-2010. We are licensed and insured and offer a range of installation and plumbing repair services to meet your every need.

How Can You Detect a Slab Leak?

Slab Leak Repair

While California is known as The Sunshine State to the country, it is also known for its conservation and environmental efforts. This is the state where emissions are controlled, solar power is promoted, and water is considered a valuable resource. This is why homeowners are focused on saving this resource, and when the possibility is there, they seek a professional slab leak detection service.

Why would you need slab leak detection, are slab leaks hard to find?

It may be an exciting anticipation to discover gold in California, but discovering a slab leak is a nightmare. How long can a slab leak go undetected? A slab leak can go undetected for days, weeks, months, or even years. A slab leak can be so small that it goes undetected for years. Then some leaks start out a trickle and get bigger and bigger, causing extensive damage as the water leaks. 

How can I tell if I have a water leak under my slab?

As a homeowner, some things can indicate that you may have a slab leak. A slab leak detection by a plumber will find the exact area of the leak so that they can make pipe repairs or pipe replacements as needed, but if you’re noticing any of the following, these could be an indicator: 

  1. Warms spots on the floor.
  2. Water stains on the floor or along the lower parts of the walls. 
  3. The foundation is shifting, and the ground is wet around the foundation.
  4. An increase in the water bill.
  5. The water pressure has dropped. 
  6. Mildew and mold growth
  7. Peeling paint
  8. Warped wood

If you have noticed any of these things, another slab leak detection you can take is to turn all the appliances, faucets, and spigots are turned off. Check the water meter and note the reading. Wait an hour then check the meter reading again. If there is an increase in the numbers, you have a plumbing leak, which could be within the slab foundation of your home. 

What slab leak detection process do plumbers use? 

You’ve noticed some or all of the things we listed, but how can you determine the exact area of the leak? Well, as a homeowner, you probably can’t, but a professional plumber has several tools that use the latest in technology for slab leak detection: 

  • THERMAL IMAGING: This is a non-invasive method that plumbers use the most. This allows them to find slab leaks in hidden leaks in pipes by subtle temperature changes in the water. There is a camera attached to a flexible cable that the plumber inserts into the plumbing. The camera captures images of the thermal signatures and sends them to a small television-type screen, showing the plumber the exact area. 
  • ULTRASONIC SLAB LEAK DETECTION: In the world of plumbing, this is a cutting-edge technique that pinpoints the exact area of a slab leak. Detection with this technology uses sophisticated microphones that pick up the sound of water flowing through the slab and the pipes. The audio is amplified through this equipment and transformed into either decibel readings or visible signals, making the slab leak detection exact. 
  • ACOUSTIC LEAK DETECTION: Another advanced technology that is sound-based and zeroes in on the sound of water leaking through a pressurized plumbing system. The plumber places acoustic sensors along the outside of the plumbing pipes and picks up the distinct sound of water flowing. The plumbing technician is then able to make a pinpoint slab leak detection. 

OTHER METHODS OF SLAB LEAK DETECTION

In addition to these three technologies of slab leak detection, others that plumbers have at their disposal include: 

  • GROUND PENETRATING RADAR 
  • DRONE IMAGING
  • LIDAR
  • VIDEO PIPE INSPECTION

When you schedule a plumber for slab leak detection, they will inspect plumbing areas of your home, using some of the basic methods we’ve listed for you to use, and then discuss with you the different methods they can use for a more precise slab leak detection. Not every house will benefit from the same method.

Does the homeowner’s insurance cover slab leaks?

Yes and no. If the slab leak detection finds the leak is caused by a busted pipe or an explosion, depending on the details of your specific policy, the insurance may cover the slab removal and pipe replacement process. If the slab leak detection finds that is due to the age of the pipes, homeowner’s insurance will not have this under “covered perils” in most cases. However, it may cover any repairs to the area damaged, like floors and walls.

In Conclusion

If you’ve never experienced a slab leak, detection isn’t something you’ve never experienced either, so you may be wondering, just how common are leaks under a slab? Well, there is a good chance you currently have a slab leak, that’s how common it is. Slab leaks are more common than most homeowners are aware of until it is too late.  If your home isn’t on a pier-n-beam, it is on a concrete slab and when it was built, the water drain, lines, and pipes were installed before the concrete was poured. 

As the ground shifts, the foundation moves, the most common cause of a slab leak. Detection will not only find where you have plumbing leaks, but where you may need to have foundation work done. 

What Causes a Faucet to Drip?

close-up of a faucet

Why is my faucet dripping?

Even in the land of all that glitters, every home will at one time or another experience a leaky faucet. It may be in the bathroom, the kitchen, or even an exterior faucet, and immediate attention is needed, with faucet leak repair. Most can be done by a homeowner, or if you’re not a DIY homeowner, most plumbers provide basic services like faucet leak repair. In Los Angeles, California, a company like ours can be there to give you a bit of help when you have a faucet that won’t stop leaking. But keeping that in mind, here are some things to think about when you’re dealing with a leaky faucet.

Why does a faucet drip after it’s turned off?

If you turn off a faucet and it keeps dripping water, your first question may be, “Why won’t my faucet stop dripping?”. A leaking faucet is sometimes an indication of a more severe problem, but in most cases, the problem requires a minor faucet leak repair. Some common reasons for a leaking faucet include: 

  • O-RINGS ISSUES

The O-rings are the most common problem with leaking faucets and should be the first thing you inspect. This is a small rubber ring that is found around the valve stem under the knob. Over time, with regular use, they get damaged and become loose. A typical indication that this is the faucet leak repair you need is when water is leaking from under the handle or around the spout base.

  • VALVE SEAT CORROSION

The valve seat can become corroded, resulting in a dripping faucet. The valve seat makes the compression mechanism work. This faucet leak repair is done by replacing the valve seat. If your faucet is an older faucet, you’ll most likely need to replace the whole faucet not just the valve seat. 

  • DAMAGED OR LOOSE WASHER

When a faucet continues to drip water after you turn it off, the problem is the washer has become damaged or loosened. This faucet leak repair is done by replacing the seat washer and screw.

  • DISC CARTRIDGE LEAKING

If your faucet is a disc cartridge style, the inlet and outlet seals can wear out with normal use or from water sediment builds up around the faucet seals. This faucet leak repair is often best done by a plumber.

How can you stop a faucet from dripping?

If you walk into the bathroom or kitchen and notice the faucet dripping, your first action is to make sure the faucet is completely turned off. If it is still dripping the sooner you address the matter with the following possible faucet leak repairs, the better for your budget and the environment: 

  • CHECK THE WASHERS
  • TIGHTEN THE FAUCET SCREWS 
  • Check the FAUCET ALIGNMENT
  • INSPECT FOR CRACKS 
  • CHECK THE WATER PRESSURE 
  • CLEAN ANY DEBRIS UNDER THE FAUCET BASE AND HANDLES
  • CHECK THE SHUTOFF VALVE 
  • TIGHTEN THE STEM PACKING NUT 
  • REPLACE THE GASKET 
  • CHECK FOR LEAKING PIPES
  • CHECK FOR CORROSION 

Will replacing a faucet stop it from leaking?

If none of the repair steps we’ve listed has resulted in a successful faucet leak repair, replacing the unit will typically be necessary. If you do the replacement yourself and still have a leak that you can’t find, it is worth calling a plumber. Remember, every drip of water is a waste that is costing you on your water bill.   

Can you fix a leaky faucet without turning off the water at the main?

If there are water shut-off valves, yes, you should be able to complete a faucet leak repair or replacement without turning the water off at the main. However, if there isn’t a water shut-off valve under the sink, for safety reasons, it is recommended to turn the water off at the main.  

There are several videos online that can walk you through the process of installing water shut-off valves.  This is a helpful upgrade to your plumbing that could be well worth the expense of a plumber or save you headaches later. 

Why are faucet leak repairs so important? 

In addition to saving money on the water bill, getting faucet leak repairs done promptly helps the environment.  A leaking faucet with one drip every second adds up to over 3,000 gallons annually. That much water equals up to over 180 showers. 

Stop The Waste! 

So, after reading this article, you can see that a faucet leak repair is important and yes, worth the expense and time. What can happen if you don’t complete a faucet leak repair job? Well, you have to realize that a leaking faucet won’t repair itself, and the leak won’t just stop.  A leaking faucet that is dripping under the sink can cause mildew and mold, with the mold spreading and causing wood rot, which can lead to even more structural damage, that will cost you even more money, and time. If you can’t do a faucet leak repair on your own, hire a handyman or plumber to complete the job, the sooner the better! When you need faucet leak repair in Los Angeles, California, we can be there to help so just give us a call. Reach out at (310) 454-2010.

How Do You Treat Leaky Faucets?

Hot water faucet

The Importance of Leaky Faucet Repair

When you have a leaky faucet, repairing may seem to be one of those things “when you get around to it”, but it should be addressed as soon as possible. Why is it important to get a leaky faucet repaired so quickly? Because a leaky faucet is wasting water, as much as 10%!  That is money leaking right out of your faucet and wasting a natural resource.

What causes a faucet to leak? 

There are 5 things that commonly cause the need for a leaky faucet repair: 

  1. The O Ring 

This is a small ring in the faucet stem that holds the handle in place. When this ring gets worn out, the faucet starts leaking usually around the handle. This leaky faucet repair can usually be done by a homeowner. 

  1. Corrosion and Sediment Buildup

When sediment builds up within the faucet, it creates corrosion which causes a leaky faucet. Repair for this can often be done by simply cleaning out the sediment. If this is done on regular basis, it can prevent corrosion.

  1. A Faulty Washer

The washer inside a faucet gets a lot of use, If it becomes worn out or doesn’t fit properly, it can lead to needing a leaky faucet repair.  

  1. The Seals

This is another area that can lead to leaky faucet repairs because of sediment buildup. Sediment can eat away at the seals, causing the faucet to leak. 

  1. Loose or Broken Plumbing Parts

If the faucet is defective, has loose parts, or there is broken plumbing somewhere within the plumbing system, it can cause a faucet to leak. 

Can I repair a leaky faucet myself, or do I need to call a plumber? 

If you have a leaky faucet, you’re first thought may be, “How much is that going to cost?”. Well, for basic leaky faucet repairs, most plumbers have a set rate. But if they have problems that require more work, it can be charged by the hour plus parts. 

However, you probably can do your owner leaky faucet repairs, it depends on your ‘handyman’ aptitude!  Most leaky faucet repairs or replacements can be done by a homeowner, provided you have the right tools. This includes plumbing parts in the following parts:  

  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Sink
  • Toilet
  • Hose bib

However, if you have doubts and you’re unsure, it is better to call a professional plumber for a leaky faucet repair versus getting into the job and getting underwater!  This is for sure with older homes where the plumbing could be 30, 40 years or older, the sediment buildup, corrosion, and rust could have done more damage than basic homeowner repairs can handle. 

If you’re going to do your own leaky faucet repairs, what tools do you need? 

If you don’t have them already, purchase the following tools:

  • Set of Allen wrenches 
  • Set of basic screwdrivers
  • Large slip-joint pliers

If you have never done any type of home repairs, a leaky faucet repair can be intimidating for some. But, after learning the basics, a modern faucet is pretty easy to repair. There are videos online and many home improvement stores offer classes for these things.  The hardest part for older leaky faucet repairs is finding the parts. Often, you’ll end up having to totally replace the faucet. 

What are the steps to fix a leaky faucet?

This can vary depending on the type of faucet you have. The fancier the faucet, the more complicated it can be, and you may want to have the leaky faucet repaired by a professional. The basic steps include: 

STEP 1: Remove any decorative cap from the handle.

STEP 2: Remove the handle by removing any screws. 

Disassemble the faucet by removing internal components. This will depend on what type of faucet you have. 

STEP 4: Inspect the parts, and determine what can be cleaned and used or need to be replaced. 

STEP 6: Reassemble the faucet and re-install it.

STEP 7: Test the faucet for any leaks.

How do I identify the type of faucet I have? 

If you’ve ever walked through the plumbing section of a home improvement store, you know there is a wide selection of faucets. And within that wide range of faucets, there is a different technology that enables us to find that one that is just right for our personal tastes in functions and aesthetic designs. The following are the 4 basic faucets you’ll find: 

  • Ball Faucets

This is a single-handle faucet that has a handle sitting on a ball-shaped cap atop the faucet. The handles move side to side for temperature control and back and for water flow. There are O-rings, slots, and spring-loaded rubber seals within this faucet. The rubber parts tend to wear out and can require a higher level of maintenance and leaky faucet repairs.

  • Disc Faucets

This is the newest of faucets and is identified by a single-lever control on a wide, cylindrical body. There are 2 ceramic discs for controlling the water temperature where the water mixes before coming out of the faucet. Leaky faucet repair for this type is best done by a professional plumber. 

  • Cartridge Faucet

This faucet is generally indistinguishable until you use it. Cartridge faucets operate smoother using a lever-style handle that is easy to grasp and turn. This is the lower-maintenance faucet on the market. 

  • Compression Faucet

This double-handle style of faucet means the cold and hot water lines are controlled individually and are distinguished by the 2 knobs. This is the oldest technology in faucets, and when leaky faucet repairs are needed, they are relatively easy and cheap. 

In Closing 

You may not be annoyed by a dripping faucet, but this is something that should be addressed sooner than later. Not only is it increasing your water bill, but is wasting a natural resource. If you require faucet repair in West Los Angeles, CA, please get in touch with our friendly crew at (310) 454-2010.

Are Tankless Water Heaters Worth The Investment?

tankless water heater against a tile wall

Choosing a Tankless Water Heater

Whether the reason is for a basic household upgrade or your current one is getting old and you’re being proactive, you probably have questions about going with a tankless water heater. After looking at the cost of purchasing the unit and the additional cost of having it installed, your first question is, “Is it worth getting a tankless water heater?”. Well, we are going to answer other questions that may answer that for you.

So, how much does a tankless water heater cost?

The cost can vary based on the brand and model you choose. And like a traditional water heater, the cost will vary between electric-powered and gas-powered. The cost of the actual tankless water heater itself isn’t much higher than the traditional type of water heater. The expense comes with the installation. 

A tankless water heater cannot be installed in the same manner as the traditional style. They typically need additional or new plumbing, electricity, and/or gas lines installed too. With that additional work, yes, a tankless water heater will have a higher upfront expense. 

To the next question, “Is a tankless water heater expensive to install?”, we suggest that you should get a few estimates as you would with any home improvement job for professional tankless water heater installation. They will need to know what brand/model of tankless water heater you’re considering and will likely need to visit your home to see where it is being installed. 

What are the benefits of a tankless water heater?

If you’re going to go to the expense of upgrading to a tankless water heater, you want to know if it is worthwhile. Here are 5 key advantages to having a tankless water heater installed: 

Energy Efficiency 

The bottom line for homeowners is the cost of purchasing and the cost of using anything for the home. A tankless water heater will give you a significant reduction in your monthly utility bill thanks to the energy efficiency they provide.

For a household that uses 40 gallons of water a day, a tankless water heater will save you as much as 34% on energy costs. This can add up to hundreds of dollars annually, making this investment for the most budget-conscious homeowner worthwhile.  

Extended Life

If you’re replacing your current storage water heater, think about the last time you had to replace it, maybe 10 years ago? A benefit to a tankless water heater is the longer lifespan, approximately 20 years. If you’re planning on staying in your current home for a few years, the investment in a tankless water heater is worthwhile. 

You need your water heater to effectively heat water, and the faster the better. A tankless water heater will do just that for you. The water isn’t sitting in a tank waiting to be heated. It heats the water on demand.  

Space Saving

Where the traditional water heater is often in a closet or the corner of a basement or laundry room, taking up space, a tankless water heater requires a lot less space. The traditional tank-style water heater usually requires a space of approximately 5 feet by 2 feet.  The tankless water heater is maybe the size of a shoe box.  

Safety

Water heater safety has always been a concern, especially in households with young children. Where there was the possibility of tank-style water heaters exploding, the tankless water heaters do not have the possibility of overheating and exploding because they are not filled with water. 

What size tankless water heater should I get?

This is the one key area to having a professional experienced in tankless water heaters is to help you determine the proper size is recommended. There is a bit of math required in determining what size of tankless water heater to purchase.  Most homes will need a 5GM to 10 GPM size unit.  GPM stands for gallons per minute, and there are 2 questions a professional will ask you: 

  1. What is the maximum hot water needs for your home?
  2. How much water per minute does your home need? 

Are there any drawbacks to tankless water heaters? 

Like anything else you purchase, there will be disadvantages too and tankless water heaters aren’t any different. There are 2 that should be included in this decision-making process.  

  • The initial costs: The purchase of a tankless water heater is often an unexpected and monumental expense for most of us. That alone will steer most customers to stay with the traditional water heater because of the installation expense of a tankless water heater. You need to consider the overall savings to be had by installing a tankless water heater. This will even out, perhaps more in your favor, in the long run. 
  • Multiple demands: In a large household, there are often multiple demands simultaneously for hot water that a single tankless water heater unit may not be able to meet. If you’re running several outlets for hot water at the same time, like the dishwasher, a shower, and the laundry on a regular basis, you should consider having more than one unit installed. 

Can you run out of water with a tankless water heater?

Not exactly “run out” of hot water, because remember, there is not a storage tank involved with the tankless water heater system.  But, because it produces hot water on demand, if there is a high demand, it may lag in providing each faucet with the desired hot water. In some rare cases, the tankless water heater may get overloaded enough to the point it shuts down completely. 

close-up of a tankless water heater being adjusted

In Closing 

When choosing to go with a tankless water heater, and you have the option of electric-powered or gas-powered, Is a tankless water heater better than a gas water heater? If there isn’t a natural gas line in place already, staying with the electric-powered tankless heater will save you on installation expenses. 

When is a leak a plumbing emergency?

woman with a bucket under a leaking pipe

Dealing With Plumbing Emergencies

It can be easy to take our plumbing for granted, inside and outside our home. Turn the faucet on, out comes water. Turn the dishwasher or washing machine on, and here comes water, filling the washer and washing the dishes, we know what to do next. But what about when a pipe bursts? When an emergency plumbing repair comes about, how are you supposed to handle those?

Knowing what to do in a plumbing emergency scenario is important, like turning the main water valve off. As a homeowner, you should know where this is located and how to turn the water off in case of emergency plumbing. Repairs can get extensive and expensive if the water is allowed to keep flowing until the emergency plumbing repair service arrives.

How important is emergency plumbing repair?

The benefits of professional emergency plumbing repair service may not seem like a long list, but the repercussions of having them are almost endless: 

  • Skilled Professionals: Generally, an emergency plumbing repair request will be fulfilled by an experienced plumber that has been trained and has had hands-on experience with a long list of plumbing catastrophes. They arrive with the necessary equipment and use their knowledge and skills to make either a temporary or permanent repair after diagnosing the problem. 
  • Prompt Response and Repair: Emergency plumbing repair service arrives because there isn’t time to waste when it comes to the damage that water can cause. 
  • Saves Money: Yes, emergency plumbing repair service with a 24/7/365 on-call plumber will cost more than during normal business days and hours, but the money you’ll save by minimizing the damage that is being created can be astronomical. Water can damage your ceiling, flooring, walls, and personal effects as well as lead to mildew and mold growth if the leak isn’t addressed promptly.  Then there is the added expense of water continuing to run is a water meter continuing to run too. With an emergency plumbing repair, that meter running will be stopped, saving you from an extraordinary water bill. 
  • Peace Of Mind: So that you can have peace of mind, have your home’s plumbing inspected annually. This will give you that emergency plumbing repair phone number and a plumber that knows the plumbing layout of your home. 

What counts as a plumbing emergency?

Here are four plumbing emergency examples of when you should call for professional emergency plumbing repairs and assistance: 

  • Flooding Risk: A busted pipe, failed sump pump, or sewer line backing up, are all flood risks, just like a water shut-off valve breaking. This flooding puts your home at a damage risk level that can not only be financially damaging, but unsafe for your family. 
  • Sewer backing up: As we just stated, a backed-up sewer line can cause financial risk and safety risk, making this an emergency plumbing repair need. Sewer is a health hazard and can prevent the use of running water. 
  • No water: If you have busted water lines, not only is your home at risk of damage but not having running water is considered a health hazard and safety concern. Without running water, you can clean, cook, or use the facilities, nor are you able to extinguish a fire. 
  • Burst water pipe risk: During the winter months, frozen pipes can leave your home subjected to not having any water and to be flooded by water.  A frozen pipe keeps water from flowing and the molecules in the water will cause it to expand. This puts pressure on the inside of the pipes, causing them to crack. When the water thaws, it flows from the crack and your home is at risk of flooding.

Knowing when to call an emergency plumber and when it can wait until the next business day during normal business hours can save you money. For example, is a clogged toilet an emergency? In most cases, a clogged toilet can be plunged, and it will function as intended. Sometimes, the clog can be further into the pipes and plunging doesn’t help.  In these instances, calling for emergency plumbing repairs is needed unless you have a second bathroom to use, saving you the extra cost of this service. 

You may also ask, is a running toilet an emergency? If you can make minor repairs inside the tank to stop the running, no, a running toilet is not an emergency. If the water is running out of the tank or bowl and you can’t stop it from inside the tank, turn the water off at the valve behind the toilet and then call for an emergency plumbing repair service. 

What do emergency plumbers do?

Emergency plumbing repairs aren’t just for water lines and issues.  Plumbing can also be for natural gas appliances and gas lines.  There are various scenarios with plumbing that can be a severe and urgent matter. Some examples would be: 

  • Clogged drains
  • Damaged gas or water pipes
  • Gas line leaks

Emergency plumbing repairs should consist of possible fire danger by leaking gas lines, or possible water damage, both of which can possibly compromise anyone’s safety.        

close-up of a leaking copper pipe

At The Crux Of It All 

When you make that emergency plumbing repair call, you are hoping for a quick arrival but that may not always be possible. So, how long does it take for an emergency plumber to come out? It will depend on the area where you live, a city location will get faster service than a rural area in most cases. Other factors that can determine how long it takes for the plumber to arrive would be if they are on a current service call. Winter weather can affect the response time for emergency plumbing repair calls. 

What Damage Can a Leaking Shower Do?

Man repairing shower knob

When To Call a Plumber?

As a homeowner, finding small issues in your home can build up if they aren’t addressed right away. Like taking out the trash, changing the air filter, fixing a running toilet, and making shower repairs. All of these, except for taking out the trash, can cost you on utilities. 

If you don’t know how to do these things or don’t have the time, knowing who to call for shower repair is important?  The best person is a professional plumber, however, a handyman that is experienced in all types of trades can do shower repairs too. You want to make sure they have the credentials and insurance coverage before they work on any aspect of your home. Even a basic shower repair can go awry and cause a lot more damage.

So, just how much does it cost to fix a shower?

Cost will vary in different regions, and each plumber will have various rates. Prices tend to depend on the basic cost of supplies — which can fluctuate greatly. The cost can also be based on the problem that needs shower repairing. The type of shower can have an impact on the cost of a shower repair.

What happens when a shower valve goes bad?

If your shower has a TMV, (a thermostatic mixing valve that combines cold and hot water to get the desired water temperature) can wear out over time. This is indicated when the shower keeps dripping after you’ve turned it off. When worn out, the TMV can’t be placed in the correct position to shut the water off. Or that dripping could be because the cartridge or seals have worn out. 

Again, you can call a plumber or handyman for shower repair, or you can learn how to replace a bad shower valve and how to repair a leaky shower faucet are almost identical using the following steps since they are connected:

  • Block the Shower Drain: Covering the drain is important so that screws and other small parts can’t fall into the drain. 
  • Shut Off the Water: Shut the water off to the shower to stop any further leaking and to keep from having water spraying while making this shower repair. 

 

  • Remove the Handle: Using a hex wrench, remove the shower handle of the head faucet, remember how you do this so you can re-attach it when your shower repair is complete. 
  • Loosen the Trim Plate: Unscrew the trim plate on both sides and remove it from the wall. Remove any caulk off the trim plate, screws, and wall.
  • Remove the Old Valve: You should see a valve through an opening now, you may need to widen the opening a little more. Inside the hole is the old valve that needs to be removed. Remove the clip holding the shower valve using needle nose pliers and place it in a safe place, even though a new cartridge should come with its own clip. Some shower valves will have retainer nuts that can be removed with a wrench. Now, the defective valve can be removed using pliers. Pull it slowly but firmly, you may need to wiggle it some to get it started. 
  • Fixing a New Valve: With pliers, hold the new cartridge by the metal end and slide it in the hole where you removed the old cartridge. You may need to wiggle it as you slide it in.  Now, using the needle-nose pliers, affix the clips to the new cartridge so that it is in the same position as the old cartridge. Connect the new valve and water pipe. If you must solder it, be careful so that you don’t catch anything on fire. 
  • Attach the Water Supply: You can use Teflon tape to attach PEX plumbing then, with an adjustable wrench, connect the pipe-crimp ring fittings. If you have copper pipes, you’ll need to solder them together.  This is one reason a homeowner prefers to call a professional plumber for this type of shower repair. 
  • Finishing Up: Test your shower repair for leaks by turning the water back on. If there are no leaks, return the trim plate and shower handle in place. 

Another common shower repair is the drain leaking. This could be the easiest of shower repairs ever! The following steps will walk you through how to repair a leaking shower drain without having to remove the shower pan: 

  1. Take the drain cover off.
  2. Remove and toss the compression gasket.
  3. Remove the body of the shower drain.
  4. Clean the drain rim.
  5. Install the new shower drain gasket.
  6. Screw the new shower drain body into place and seal it with plumber’s putty.
  7. Wipe away excess putty away from the drain.

For a homeowner, knowing how to repair cracked grout in the shower will keep your shower looking good, an important factor if you’re placing your home on the market. Just follow these steps for this shower repair: 

  1. The old grout needs to be removed. First, cover the drain so the grout doesn’t fall in and cause a clog. You can do this with a grout saw then vacuum out any grout left behind. 
  2. Starting at the top, using a premixed grout, and working in small sections, with a grouted tile, apply the grout in the lines, pressing as you go along. 
  3. After you have re-grouted each small section, using clear water and a clean rag, remove any grout on the tiles.  If you use an epoxy grout, you’ll need to use vinegar or other products recommended by the manufacturer. 

If the wall around your shower is damaged and rotted, repairing this should be a shower repair priority. The mildew and mold within that wall are spreading and affecting the air your family is breathing. To learn how to repair a rotted shower wall follow these steps: 

Step One: Remove the tiles from the damaged area

Step Two: Remove the base trim

Step Three: Locate the closet stud

Step Four: Cut the damaged drywall out

Step Five: Replace any rotted studs

Step Six: Replace the drywall you’ve removed

Step Seven: Fill the screw holes and seams with drywall mud

Step Eight: Repeat applying the drywall mud so that it is raised above the surface then sand smooth

application

Step Nine: Paint the new drywall

Step Ten: Replace the tiles

leaking shower head

How to repair an acrylic shower wall

This shower repair can be more intensive, but possible. It may be best to have a professional contractor do the work for you. The contractor will use an acrylic enamel coating and apply it delicately with an artist’s airbrush, then carefully blend the repair into the surrounding surface to create an invisible shower repair. 

How to Fix a Tankless Water Heater

tankless water heater on a brick wall

Repairing Your Tankless Water Heater

Today, with homeowners in California concerned with environmental issues and their own economics, it is clear why tankless water heaters have become popular. There is less space needed for this new style of hot water heater, as well as endless hot water – which also means they use less water. With less water used, there is less energy necessary to heat the water too. But what about when they break down – is tankless water heater repair possible? 

Today, we’ll answer some basic, common questions about tankless water heaters, repairs, and replacement concerns. This starts with the frequent question of “Why am I not getting hot water from my tankless water heater?” This is often what leads to the need to call for professional tankless water heater repair service.

There are several issues that could be the reason you aren’t getting hot water from your tankless water heater. Your power source, whether electric or gas, could be the issue, or it could be that you’ve maxed out the capacity of your tankless unit. While they don’t run out of hot water, it’s important to remember that they can only heat so much within a certain amount of time. 

For instance, somebody is showering while another person has the dishwasher running, and a third person is washing their hands all at the same time. These activities can cause the water hot to turn lukewarm in the shower and lead to a total lack of hot water in the dishwasher. There isn’t a tankless water heater repair for this situation. It is a matter of timing when these larger uses of hot water are spaced out. 

However, the lack of hot water can also be a bigger issue like one of the following: 

  • Heat exchanger unplugged
  • Air intake or vent is blocked
  • Electric or gas supply issues
  • Flame rod or ignitor has gone bad
  • Burners need cleaning

Tankless water heater repairs and solutions: 

First, turn all hot water appliances off except for one and allow the tankless unit to catch up to the demand. If you’re only getting hot water with one hot water appliance at a time, you may need to upsize your tankless water heater unit with a higher flow rate unit. Other things to check are: 

  • Is the electricity or gas turned on? 
  • Is the water heater vent clear of any obstruction? 
  • Have you kept the recommended regular inspection and maintenance? 

Why does my tankless water heater go cold?

This is another common problem for plumbing contractors. However, it isn’t always a tankless water heater repair issue when the homeowner is getting cold water sandwiched between hot water. This is caused by temperature fluctuations, and more often than not, it is a matter of the tankless water heater size being too small for the household. 

How do I know if my tankless water heater is bad?

The main reason many homeowners are going with a tankless water heater is so they never run out of hot water – a very common problem in households with kids and teens. Another reason is so they don’t have to run water waiting for the hot water to start, that is a water of a natural resource and money. 

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’ll never need tankless water heater repairs or that your tankless water heater will last forever. Here are five signs that a tankless water heater repair or replacement is needed: 

  • Water quality suddenly changes: If your water has suddenly became cloudy or rusty, or has dirt-like sediment in it, this is a huge hint that you may need tankless water heater repair. First call the supplier of your water, like the city water department or the water co-op and ask if there are any busted water mains. If there isn’t, then call a professional plumber to inspect your tankless water heater system and plumbing lines. 
  • Water smells or tastes different: An unusual smell or taste suddenly could be the tankless water heater. Repair could be something coming from the water inlet or within your pipes, but it could be the unit too. A professional plumber can inspect and determine the situation. 
  • Banging, booming sounds: If you’re hearing banging or booming sounds from your tankless water heater, repairs or replacement may be needed. Call a professional plumber to do a flush and see if that fixes the problem. If not, a new tankless water heater is in your immediate future. 
  • Inconsistent hot water or water pressure: The attraction to  tankless water heaters is never having to wait for the water to heat up. So if your tankless unit isn’t getting you hot water on depend, or the water pressure has dropped significantly, you need to have a professional plumber inspect the system and be prepared to have a new unit installed. 
  • Warning messages: Most of the tankless water heaters on the market have a display that shows any warnings of possible problems. Never ignore any warning displayed and call for a tankless water heater repair as soon as you notice a warning. 

Can you repair a tankless water heater?

Tankless water heaters are like traditional tank water heaters and are powered by either electricity or natural gas. Depending on the problem, tankless water heater repairs are possible with a professional trained plumber. Some examples of tankless water heater repairs are: 

  • An electric unit heating element can be replaced
  • A natural gas-powered tankless water heater can have the burners replaced
  • Both units should be flushed annually, like a traditional tank water heater.

Can you repair a tankless water heater heat exchanger?

The tankless water heater exchanger is what allows you to take that hot shower every morning. This is the device that raises the temperature and transfers the heat from one source to another and is activated by the incoming water flow. A professional plumber experienced in tankless water heaters is able to perform tankless water heater repair by replacing the exchanger on most brands and models. 

Can you repair a leaking tankless water heater?

It can be repaired, but not by you. A leaking tankless water heater repair must be done by an experienced, trained professional plumber. If the unit is under warranty, it should be done by a plumber that is certified by the brand of the tankless unit. 

How much does it cost to repair a tankless water heater?

Professional tankless water heater repairs can cost as little as $150 and more than $800 with the average cost being around $600. With routine checkups, inspections, and flushing by a professional plumber, you can minimize the chances of needing repairs. 

What is the average life of a tankless water heater?

This is another area where the tankless water heaters outshine the traditional tank water heaters. The traditional water heaters typically need to be replaced between 10 and 12 years. The tankless water heaters can give you up to a 20-year lifespan when you have routine inspections and flushing done. 

tankless water heater in a shower

In Closing

When it comes to showering, washing dishes, and laundry, we want to be in hot water. So, if your  water heater needs repairs, you have to wonder, should I repair or replace my water heater, which is the better option? 

If you have a traditional tank water heater and it is 10 years old and needs repairs, replacement may be the better option. If you have had to have it repaired every year, or even more frequently, yes, you should consider replacing the unit.

What is a plumbing preventative maintenance plan?

plumber making notes on a clipboard

Why is plumbing maintenance important?

When was the last time you had your home’s plumbing inspected? Yeah, that’s what most homeowners will say – never. One of the most helpful p plumbing tips a homeowner can take to heart is to keep a regular plumbing maintenance routine and have annual plumbing maintenance by a professional plumber to minimize, or even prevent, major plumbing problems. 

Of all the helpful advice experienced homeowners will offer, listen to them when they are offering plumbing tips. The plumbing in your home is essential and important to the daily household routine. A clogged drain or a leaking pipe can be inconvenient and expensive. With routine plumbing maintenance by you and a professional plumber you can possibly prevent the following problems: 

  • Blockages

A blocked and clogged drain can cause as much damage and as many problems as a leaking pipe, including flooding. By keeping your pipes free from blockages and clogs, you’ll decrease the chances of overflowing sinks, toilets, and tubs within your home. This will also extend the lifespan of your plumbing. A couple of plumbing tips to help minimize blockages is to use a drain screen in each sink to catch hair and larger debris that can clog a drain. And pay attention to seemingly minor things you may be washing down the drain, like coffee grounds and grease! They can cause far more problems than you realize.

  • Low Water Pressure

With regular plumbing system maintenance you can catch any build-up of mineral deposits and gunk in the pipes that can decrease your water pressure. You can also catch small leaks where the water isn’t getting to the faucet, making it seem your water pressure is low. 

  • Expensive Repairs

When you catch a clog as it’s building up and get it cleared, you won’t have a busted pipe to fix and you won’t have to deal with the damage it can cause around the pipe. Water is the enemy to any house when it’s left to flow and leak. Keeping your home’s plumbing pipes clean and clear and keeping leaks patched can save you a lot of money. 

What does a maintenance plumber do?

A professional plumber will have a plumbing maintenance checklist they will work through. On that maintenance checklist are: 

  • Check for indications of water damage on the walls or under cabinets
  • Inspect the plumbing pipes for damage or corrosion
  • Check the toilets for leaks and they’re flushing correctly
  • Verify that all faucets in the bathrooms, kitchen and other areas have proper water pressure
  • Check for potential blockages and clogs
  • Inspect the garbage disposal and water heater 
  • Conducting a pressure test to detect any hairline cracks or leaks
  • Perform drain cleaning on all drains

Occasionally, if the plumber determines it is needed, they will perform a lead test of the water and do a video pipe inspection of the sewer lines. These aren’t always included on routine maintenance inspections, however. At the end of the inspection, the plumber may offer you plumbing tips to correct an issue before it becomes an expensive problem.

What is included in preventive maintenance?

Your plumbing preventative maintenance routine will involve everything that is attached to the water system in your home. This includes all sinks, toilets, and tubs. The laundry room, garbage disposal, refrigerator ice maker, and water heater. 

Anything that is attached to the plumbing should be inspected. If you find any issues, make the repairs needed or call a professional plumber. Here, we offer preventive maintenance plumbing tips to follow:

  • Fix any leaking faucet or shower head. A dripping faucet is wasting water and adding up on your water bill.  A dripping faucet left un-repaired can cause extensive water damage. This includes the handles dripping when turned on. Check under the sinks for drips or water stains. 
  • Unclog slow drains.  Any drain that is slow could get worse at any moment. Pour half a cup of banking soda and half cup of vinegar down the drain, wait 15 minutes then pour boiling hot water. This can be done on a weekly basis to keep drains running clear. 
  • Check all exposed pipes for water leaks, including plumbing to all appliances. Every appliance can have a possible leak, including the garbage disposal, ice maker, or water heater.  Always keep a watch for any visible signs of a leaking like water stains on ceilings, walls, and puddles in floor. Be aware of mildew and make sure the drip tray under the water heater and HVAC unit are clear. 
  • Fix leaking toilets by replacing the faulty valve seat seal or the flapper. Make sure the handle is connected to the tank stopper and working. 
  • Watch what is getting flushed or poured down drains. Just because it says flushable, doesn’t mean it should be flushed!  The only things that should ever be flushed is human waste and toilet paper, and never anything that can be reactive down a drain.
  • Check the water pressure from the faucets and showerheads to make sure they are not too high. High water pressure can bust water lines.  
  • Remove the shower and clean the sediment that has built-up. 
  • Drain and flush the water heater to remove the sediment build-up 
  • Check the water heater burner chamber and if you see rust flakes or the flame is yellow, the jets need to be cleaned. 
  • Check the hoses for brittleness, cracks, or leaking and replace if needed. 
  • Have your septic tank inspected and pumped by a professional service. 
  • For houses with a sewer system, have the sewer lines inspected for cracks and tree roots.

How often is it recommended to do plumbing maintenance?

Have your home’s plumbing checked professionally every two years. The exception to this would be for an older home or a home with large trees around, in which case, once a year would be recommended. The checklist of plumbing maintenance for homeowners we provided, along with the plumbing tips offered, should be taken care of weekly unless otherwise stated.

plumber checking the pipes beneath a sink

In Closing

When you learn how to maintain a plumbing system, you’ll find that you’re saving money on water, and you won’t need plumbing repairs as frequently. Commercial or residential building plumbing maintenance is essential in keeping thing running as smoothly as possible.