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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. 

What is the Cheapest Way To Remodel a Bathroom?

luxury small bathroom

Remodeling your restroom

The bathroom. What can you say about that one room that everyone needs and uses? It may very well be the busiest room in most homes, which means it gets dirty faster, it wears out faster, and yet, we want it pristine and presentable. And that may lead to a bathroom remodel

Any homeowner faced with a bathroom remodel decision will have many questions, typically, the most popular question is, how much will it cost to remodel my bathroom? Especially when budget is a main concern, but it can all depend on how big the bathroom is and how elaborate you want this bathroom remodel.   

In Southern California, a bathroom remodel can be more expensive than an average home in Oklahoma. Experts estimate that the cost of a bathroom remodel in Southern California can be anywhere between $14,000 and up to $18,000. But again, this can all depend on the size of the bathroom and the level of elaborateness. 

So, what is the cheapest way to remodel a bathroom? If you know the time is coming soon as to when to remodel bathroom, start planning now – that is the first step in doing this as cheap as possible. Pre-planning does a lot and if you can afford a consultation with a designer or architect for the more elaborate bathroom remodeling job, great!  

With a plan in writing and drawings and working with a professional that knows how to plan bathroom remodel, you can be assured that you have realistic dreams of your bathroom remodel that your budget and timeline can meet.  

How can I save money on my bathroom remodel?

Here are other steps after the pre-planning that you can do to save money on your bathroom remodel:  

  • Don’t Move The Electrical or Plumbing: Two of the most expensive things you can do in a bathroom remodel job is move the electrical and the plumbing. Every time you move a piece of plumbing, you’re looking at a $5,000 cost. 
  • Frame The Mirror: If your current bathroom has a built in mirror (maybe it was tiled around it), instead of moving it, dress it up with a fantastic frame. 
  • Don’t Toss the Toilet: Unless there is logical plumbing reasons, instead of replacing the entire toilet, just upgrade the seat and lit. That will save money on the toilet and hiring a plumber. 
  • Salvage Finds: Antique stores, resale shops, and salvage yards are gold mines for bathroom remodeling budgets. What was once a pricey piece can be found at a bargain and made into your bathroom remodel focal point. These are the places to find that unique piece that will make the vanity the envy of your visitors. 
  • Don’t Tile It: Tile has been the long standing tradition in bathrooms, but it doesn’t have to be!  Consider using reclaimed wood panels, beadboard, or board and batten. This will make your bathroom more warm and comfortable, and while it may need more maintenance, it will give your bathroom remodel that specialness. 
  • Open Concept Shelving: The bathroom needs to be private, but the shelving can go with an open concept, making the space seem larger without moving any walls. Open shelves, wicker baskets and you got a spacious and colorful bathroom! 
  • Light It Up: Builder-grade lighting rarely has much aesthetic appeal and is typically the first thing homeowners want gone when they plan their bathroom remodel. A bathroom should have a lot of lighting and that can be done on a budget. Adding lots of light to a bathroom is one of the most valuable changes a homeowner can Shop the discontinued shelves at the big box home improvement stores, even if it is last season’s lighting! 
  • Punch With Paint: Even the smallest area painted a colorful pop will do a lot for any bathroom remodel. You can match to your existing tile or go offbeat with something totally opposite and contrasting. 

Other things you can do to get a big change for little money is shop second hand stores for the countertop to go on that unique vanity you’re creating. If tile is what you want, shop the resale shops and the discontinued aisles for leftovers, even shopping online you’ll find some great deals that will you’re your bathroom remodel that unique touch. 

What is the best color for a bathroom?

For small bathroom, stay with bright and light colors. They reflect light and will make the bathroom seem larger; white is always the first suggestion by designers.  For a larger bathroom, there are other colors that can work with a bathroom remodel:

  • Charcoal.
  • Creamy White.
  • Light Blue.
  • Light Green.
  • Pistachio.
  • Soft Gray.
  • Taupe.

How much does it cost to replace a tub with a shower?

For a bathroom remodel that includes converting the bath a tub to a shower, you can expect to budget no less than $6,000 and the more accessories and add-ons you choose, up to $10,000. These are ballpark costs and should include materials and labor. 

Can you remodel bathroom yourself?

If you’re a handy DIY homeowner, sure. Until it comes to the electrical and plumbing, and even if you have the confidence to this yourself, there are ordinances that require permits and inspections. Cities typically will require a certified and license contractor with insurance for permits.

tile bathroom

Is bathroom remodel worth it?

Are you doing this for your own benefit? Yes, if you’re getting more room, more functionality, and a bathroom remodel is needed. Are you doing this for preparation to resell your home? The National Association of the Remodeling Industry states that you’ll recover up to 50% of a bathroom remodel if it is done properly.  

In either case, for your own use or for resell, the most important things to pay attention to for ROI value is replacing the outdated and worn items, updating the fixtures and lighting. A bathroom with more functional space is always a bonus. Call (310) 454-2010 today for your bathroom remodel in West Los Angeles, CA.

Is Pipe Relining Worth It?

pipes that need relining

How do you reline a sewer pipe?

New, but not brand new for the plumbing industry is sewer relining. What is sewer relining? Sewer relining process is a way for plumbers to repair or replaced backed up, cracked, damaged, and leaking sewer lines. 

Sewer relining is less invasive than the ‘old school’ method that involved heavy equipment and trenching the lawn, a result that homeowners dreaded. At the end of the job, what homeowners will be two small holes in the lawn with renewed existing sewer pipes that will give the decades of problem free plumbing. 

For many situations, pipe relining is the perfect alternative compared to replacing sewer pipes. Your plumbing contractor will offer one or more of the following four methods of sewer relining, each will rehabilitate the pipe’s interior instead of a total replacement job. 

  • CURED-IN PLACE: This method of sewer relining is done by the contractor remotely line the damaged section of the sewer pipe without any trench digging. Once the interior of the sewer pipe is clean and dry, the contractor applies the lining to the problem area and leaves it to cure in place using hot steam jetted into the pipe. This hot jetting molds the lining into all crack and damaged area inside the sewer pipe.
  • PULL-IN PLACE: This is considered to be the best sewer relining method for pipes with larger cracks and gaps. The repair material is installed into the pipe with a steam like heat that pulls the epoxy-saturated liner into the area of the sewer pipe that needs repair. The plumbing contractor creates two access holes. One is used to feed the sewer relining material to the desired location and the other hole is where it is pulled through until it reaches the needed area. The plumber then injects air into the sewer pipe that opens the epoxy sleeve and holds it in place against the inner walls until has dried. 
  • PIPE BURSTING: For sewer pipes that are extensively damaged and needs total replacement, pipe bursting method is used. The plumbing contractor requires physical access to the pipe to start the repair process. This method of sewer relining required space two 4 foot square access pits at each end of the sewer pipeline. A bursting head is placed at one access point and hydraulic power then drags the head through the sewer pipe. As the head makes its way through the sewer line system, it breaks the old pipe apart and the new seamless pipe is pulled behind it. The new sewer pipe is a plastic material that is impervious to tree root intrusion for 100 years or longer.
  • INTERNAL PIPE COATING: Professional plumbers choose the internal sewer pipe coating to repair an existing leaking sewer pipe when that leak is surrounding the soil around it. The area must be prepped by completely draining the pipes to remove any water. Then a thick epoxy coating is sprayed on the sewer pipe interior that permanently seals any cracks and leaks throughout the sewer pipeline.

How does trenchless sewer line repair work?

Trenchless sewer relining is a repair done by soaking a  pipe liner that is made from either felt or fiberglass in an epoxy resin. It is then threaded through the existing damaged sewer pipe. The liner is then inflated, pressed up against the original “host” pipe. The plumber then lets that sit for 24 hours to cure.

How does sewer relining work?

This sewer relining is a trenchless process that doesn’t require the plumber to excavate the lawn, destroy the driveway or sidewalk, or dig up trees. Sewer relining entails inserting a new sewer pipe that is epoxy-saturated tube into the existing sewer pipe. The tube is then inflated and allowed to cure  in place with either bluelight LED technology, hot air, or steam.

How long does sewer relining last?

The warranty for this sewer relining process is typically for 50 years. However, it is estimated that the lining could last up to 100 years, which is double the pipeline’s lifespan.

pipe dug up

Is pipe relining worth it?

As a homeowner, if you’re facing sewer relining vs replacement, the sewer relining process is up to 75% less expensive than replacing the sewer line. In addition to the financial savings there, it being a non-invasive with your lawn, driveway, and sidewalks, there is no reconstruction expenses after the plumber leaves. 

If you suspect you have sewer line issues, do an internet search for “plumbers that offer sewer relining near me”, because not every plumber has trained or has the equipment to do this type of work.  Get a couple of estimates and compare them before choosing one, and as always, ask for recent references then follow up with those references. Call (310) 454-2010 today fo your pipe relining needs in West Los Angeles, CA.

How to Tell if You Have a Slab Leak

What is a slab leak?

In California, the ground moves with earthquakes and proximity to the ocean, so it isn’t unusual for homes to have movement. Homeowners are accustomed to this and the repercussions it can create. Like causing a slab leak, detection of that issue is important before it leads to bigger problems.

A slab leaks happens when a water pipe leaks inside or under the concrete slab foundation of a house. A slab leak can be from the incoming water line, the water heater water line, or in the sewage line.

What causes a leak in the slab?

A slab leak can appear to be an insignificant, small issue at first, However I a slab leak detection isn’t successful, costly and significant damage can occur. An unattended slab leak will saturate the soil under the foundation, making floors uneven, doors and windows hard to close or open, and more.

How serious is a slab leak?

Eventually, without slab leak detection and repairs, the foundation, with the house structure, will begin sinking into the ground.

A slab leak creates other problems before it gets to the point of sinking. The annoying problems you’ll have inside your home can be one or all of these:

  • Carpet soaked, tile cracks, wood floors warped: Yes, the first thing to be ruined are the floors aswater seeps into the structure from below.
  • Foul odor and smells:  A slab leak will create a moldy, musty odor, and if it is the sewer line leaking, the smell is worse.
  • Mildew to Mold:  Once the water leak has created mildew, it begins to turn to mold, and that mold will seep into the house just like the water did. The drywall and wood will absorb that water, the mildew and mold will continue growing and potentially creating a health hazard.
  • Damage to the foundation: A slab leak left undetected and unaddressed will weaken the structural integrity of the foundation, the steel supports, and eventually begins to comprise the walls, ceiling, and roof. A cracked or collapsed foundation and structure isn’t far behind.
  • Damage to your landscaping and yard: Sometimes a slab leak is coming from underground water pipe leaks. These leaks begin to flood the landscaping and yard, including any brick or concrete paths and walkways. In-ground swimming pools begin to crack and leak.

Do you know how to spot a slab leak?

Statistically speaking, every home in California is prone to have a slab leak at some point. Because a slab leak can create so many problems, the earlier slab leak detection is done and the repairs that follow, the better. The following are Slab leak signs that every homeowner should be on the watch for:

  • Buckled, separated, warped, floorboards: If your hardwood floors are buckling or tile floors are cracking, it could be from excess moisture from underneath the floor.
  • Water bill increases: If your water bill has had a recent spike but you’re not using any more water than normal, this could be a sign you need slab leak detection.  There are mold detectors that offer water leak detection too.  
  • Damp, wet carpet: Just like floorboards, carpet absorbs moisture and water from under the slab too, creating small swimming pools for ants and other insects. 
  • Random hot spots: A slab leak will cause hot spots in the flooring when it is the water heater leaking. A professional plumber will have a thermal imaging camera set up for slab leak detection.  
  • Mildew or mold: If you are smelling mildew or mold and can’t find the source causing it, you need professional slab leak detection service.
  • Water heater constantly running: When the water heater is constantly heating water, this is a possible slab leak, detection and determination are important and should be one as soon as possible.  
  • Water pressure decreased: If you’re having to run the water longer to rinse your hair or wash the dishes because you have low water pressure, a slab leak detection service is needed. There could be a leak in the pipes somewhere in or under the foundation.
  • Water puddles: When you notice water wicking up from the floor and creating puddles, this is a strong indication that you have a slab leak. Detection service can verify this for you and pinpoint where the slab leak is located.

How do you find a leak under a slab?

As we have mentioned several times already, slab leak detection is important for the health of your family and the safety of your home.  If you still aren’t sure of the indicators we’ve mentioned, we suggest this slab leak detection process:

  • Turn the water off at every faucet and source.
  • Once you’re sure there isn’t any running water inside or outside, look that wat water meter.
  • If you see the needle moving, you have a water leak somewhere.
  • Check water sources like the ice maker or water heater.
  • If there isn’t any obvious signs, schedule a slab leak detection service soon.

How does slab leak detection work?

Professional plumbers have special equipment for slab leak testing, which is more reliable than the methods we have offered here already. There are two different slab leak detection methods:  tracing equipment and static pressure testing or camera pipe inspection. These methods will enable the plumber to determine precisely where a slab leak is located:

Electronic Device

This electronic device makes it possible for a plumbing  technician to perform slab leak detection by listing for water leaks in the house’s hidden water lines. Once a slab leak detection is determined, they use a line tracer system that sends a small electric charge into the line that will find the exact spot leaking.

Static Leak Isolation

This type of slab leak detection involves a hydrostatic pressure testing using sewer video cameras in-line. This enable the plumber to determine where to place the system that will provide them a visual of the sewer system. Then hydrostatic pressure testing is used to determine a slab leak detection for the location. Then inflatable test balls are placed in the system that identifies specific places in the sewer line and provides slab leak detection.

leak through a slab

How much does slab leak detection cost?

Will my homeowner’s pay for the slab leak detection process?

The average cost for a professional plumber to perform a slab leak detection can start as low as $150 and go as high as $400. The level of difficulty will determine the final cost. Will your homeowner’s pay for this slab leak detection process? No, but it may help with the cost of repairs and replacement if the adjuster doesn’t deem it cause by homeowner neglect. This is one good reason why you should do periodic slab leak detection processes yourself from time to time. Get ahead of the issue before major damage and problems happen. Call (310) 454-2010 today for your slab leak detection needs in West Los Angeles, CA.

How do you unjam a garbage disposal?

close up of garbage disposal

Why is my disposal humming and not working?

The garbage disposal is a wonderful kitchen appliance. Always there and ready to do its job, well almost always. There comes a time in the life of every garbage disposal, repair may be necessary. You rake off food from dinner plates, turn the water on and flip the switch, only to notice the garbage disposal is humming, not griding.  

When a garbage disposal stops grinding suddenly, only humming after flipping the switch, it is because of one of these two reasons: 

  • It is jammed
  • The motor is bad

How do I fix a garbage disposal that just hums?

Hearing a humming means the disposal has power, so there probably isn’t any electrical issue. That narrows down your problem to be one or the other issues not letting the disposal do its job. So, does this mean you need a new garbage disposal, or is a garbage disposal repair possible? With a jammed garbage disposal, repair is possible by following these steps: 

  • Turn the power off going to the disposal and unplug the unit too. 
  • Do a visual check for any food or a foreign object lodged in the disposal and remove them by hand, pliers, or tongs. If there isn’t any blockage, proceed to the next step. 
  • With a wooden spoon, gently push the blades manually, rotating them. If this doesn’t fix the issue, move on to the next step. 
  • Manually rotate the flywheel with a ¼” Allen wrench on the bottom of the disposal, turning it back and forth.  Give the disposal a test run and if you’re still just getting a humming sound and the water isn’t draining, you’ll need to call a professional plumber for a garbage disposal repair appointment. 

How do I know my garbage disposal is broken?

A garbage disposal is designed to grind and shred food and send it on down into the sewer line. A properly working garbage disposal will help keep the kitchen pipes clean and clear and when maintained according to the manufacturer’s manuals, you should get 15 years of food grinding and shredding. 

However, this does not mean 15 trouble-free years of grinding and shredding. When it is getting near the end of it expected lifespan, where garbage disposal repair can make it all better, you’ll know it by these five symptoms: 

  1. Noises – Strange or Unusual: A garbage disposal has several moving parts and they all make some noise. However, if you’re hearing a new or peculiar noise, it could be more than something stuck in the blades. With a flashlight shining into the drain, check for something that could be blocking the blades, like a spoon or dishcloth. If there is something, remove it with your hands, pliers, or tongs. If there isn’t anything stuck, then it is probably past garbage disposal repair and time to replace the unit.
  2. Constant Odor: When you’re smelling old food and other unpleasant odors, the garage disposal hasn’t been working right for a while. You can use homemade ingredient mixtures or buy over-the-counter products to eliminate the odor, but if they come back, you’ll need to call a professional plumber. If they can’t find any particles trapped inside the unit, you’re going to need a new one.
  3. Not Turning On: A garbage disposal that won’t turn on could have a serious problem. Push the red reset button on the outside of the unit under the sink. If this starts it working again, you don’t have to worry with garbage disposal repair or replacement. If that doesn’t work, check the electrical panel, and see if the circuit breaker has flipped off. If the unit still won’t turn on, time to call a professional and price a new unit.
  4. The Garbage Disposal Is Leaking: Appliances won’t last forever, even the garbage disposal. If your unit is leaking, it is beyond any type of garbage disposal repair, it is time to replace the unit. Even if it could be repaired, that won’t last forever either. 
  5. Pressing the Reset Button Frequently: The reset button shouldn’t need pressing very often, so if you are having to press it often, it is time to replace your garbage disposal. 
garbage disposal under sink

When I turn on garbage disposal water comes up?

If the garbage disposal is backing water up in the other sink, there is probably a clog in the lines from the garbage disposal to dishwasher. This isn’t just annoying, but unhealthy too because that food is trapped, and the odor will begin to emit through the house. Fortunately, this is one garbage disposal repair you can do yourself and save the money a plumber would charge: 

  1. Fill the opposite sink with 4 inches of water. 
  2. Close off the drain on the garbage disposal side and place a sink plunger on the other drain. 
  3. Pump the plunger up and down rapidly, there should be suction between the drain and the plunger. 
  4. Remove the plunger, unplug the garbage disposal drain and plug the opposite drain, then let water run in the garbage disposal drain. If it isn’t flowing, repeat the process.
  5. If the drain still doesn’t unclog, you’ll need to get under the sink and remove the U-shape pipe called the P-Trap
  6. Next, remove the elbow between the drain and the garbage disposal and check it for clogs. Rinse it out and replace. Still have a clog? 
  7. Time to get the plumbing snake, insert into the drain and turn the handle. Once you feel any resistance, keep turning. That is the clog you’ve it and the purpose of the snake is to push it through. 
  8. Now, turning clockwise while gently pulling the snake out, you should have debris on the end of the snake.
  9. Replace all the pieces you’ve removed and then running hot water in both drains will remove any debris left and allow you to see if there are any leaks. 

What if you wanted to attempt replacing your garbage disposal yourself instead of hiring a plumber. How hard is it to replace a garbage disposal?  If you have even a small amount of mechanical knowledge, installing a garbage disposal isn’t as difficult as you may think. First, you want to make sure you have the right garbage disposal for your plumbing and sink, then you want to make sure you have the right tools. When choosing the garbage disposal, they have garbage disposal without switches or wires! Make sure they will fit your application before making that investment though. 

Every new garbage disposal should come with instructions, but if the don’t, you can find them online.  These are extremely basic steps that we’re sharing here: 

  • Turn off the power.
  • Disconnect the dishwasher hose and waste line.
  • Take the disposal and mounting assembly off.
  • Plug in your new disposal or follow the instructions from the manual at this point if you went with the wireless unit. 
  • Install the drain flange, mounting ring and install the disposal.
  • Connect the disposal and P-trap. 
  • Test run the disposal. 

Need help with your garbage disposal in West Los Angeles, CA? Call Sunset West Plumbing & Rooter Inc. at (310) 454-2010 today!

Are you supposed to empty garbage disposal?

in sink garbage disposal

When you can’t get your garbage disposal to drain, what are you supposed to do?

Is there a method to empty a garbage disposal maybe? Out of all the appliances in a kitchen, a garbage disposal may have the worse job of them all. The garbage disposal or disposer is a hard working appliance, and it tends to get smelly if it isn’t cleaned on a regular basis. 

How do you clean a garbage disposal? Some homeowners say to remove the food buildup on the garbage disposal blades is put frozen orange or lemon peeling in the unit then let them grind up. However, garbage disposal manufacturers and plumbers will tell you not to put peelings in your garbage disposal. Instead, pour a half cup of baking soda and run hot water while the unit is grinding. 

So, that brings us to the question, “What are the worst things to put down a garbage disposal?”. The garbage disposal can easily become a trash can of sorts, so it is no wonder things are tossed in it without any regard to the damage it can cause. The answer is these 5 things you should never put in your garbage disposal are as follows, and surprising peelings isn’t on this list: 

Fats and Grease 

Never drain the butter, fat, grease,  vegetable oil, or any meat trimmings in your garbage disposal. These will create problems from the bottom to the top, starting with the blades. As you keep adding these things, the become solid and other food items start sticking to them. The disposal blades become less effective and the drain gets clogged.  

Animal Bones

Garbage disposal blades are powerful, but if anything can wear them down, it is animal bones. Finished with that fried chicken or BBQ ribs? Put the bones in the actual trash, not the garbage disposal. 

Stringy Foods

Brussel sprouts, celery, string cheese, or any kind of stringy foods do not belong in a garbage disposal. The strings will get wrapped around the garbage disposal base under the blades, wearing the motor out because it can’t spin as it should. 

Pits and Seeds

Oh yeah, that yummy guacamole, or the cherry pie, peach cobbler, and other fruit or vegie dish everyone loves all have pits or seeds. Keep those pits and seeds out of the garbage disposal! Use your strainer and put them in the trash. They will simply bounce around inside the garbage disposal, never going anywhere, just wearing the blades out. 

 Coffee and Tea Grounds

Coffee and tea grounds are a big no-no, which surprises most people. While these may look like a powdery substance, when the get wet, they stick to the sides of the garbage disposal and over time, the drain gets clogged, making the garbage disposal can become sludgy acting. 

Can you plunge a garbage disposal?

Yes you can with a few special steps. Because a garbage disposal handles a lot of food particles, we sometimes have problems with the garbage disposal and sink not draining occasionally. A typical sink plunger will work if the clog is located in the disposal drainpipe. However, a clog in the disposal unit itself needs to be cleared before you can  use the sink plunger. 

How do you unclog your garbage disposal?

Here we provide the steps you need to follow and keep from having to call plumber:

  1. Not sure where the clog is? Turn on the garbage disposal and if it is humming but not turning, that is where the clog is located.
  2. Turn the power off at the main breaker then get under the sink and using an Allen key wrench, stick it in the small opening on the bottom of the unit in the center. Turning it clockwise until it resist, then turn the other way until it resist. Keep going back and forth until the resistance stops. 
  3. Plug the opposite drain with the drain stopper and run water in the disposal side until it is half-full.
  4. With the sink plunger over the disposal drain,  push it down slowly and pull back up. Repeat this process until the water is moving down the disposal side. 
  5. Now, remove the sink plunger and turn the power back on to the garbage disposal. Run water in the drain for a few minutes then turn the garbage disposal on and let any food waste get washed away.         
garbage disposal under the sink

What does it mean when I turn on garbage disposal water comes up?

If there is water backing up in the  kitchen sink when you turn the garbage disposal on, it could be any of the following: 

  • The garbage disposal drain has blockage.
  • You have overused the garbage disposal.
  • The  garbage disposal was installed incorrectly.

Most likely, out of those three scenarios, the first one is probably it and we just gave you step-by-step to take care of the problem. Going forward, you need to be careful what is put into the garbage disposal, by you and others. 

Never attempt to use a garbage disposal without water! The water is the lubricant that makes the garbage disposal operate smoothly. Water also washes whatever you grind down the drain. Call (310) 454-2010 today for your garbage disposal repair needs in West Los Angeles, CA.