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Clogged Drainage System or Sewer Line? It’s Time to Call the Experts

Posted on May 24th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Dealing with a clogged drainage system or sewer line can be quite challenging. It is not uncommon to think you fixed the cause of the problem, only to have it return a short time later. The reason these types of plumbing problems can be difficult is that there can be one or more underlying causes of the problem in the first place.

Fixing one of the problems will not fix other drainage and clogging issues. Eventually, what you did will pale in comparison, especially if there is a major clog. You could wake up to discover water flowing over the toilet seat, sink drains backed up, or raw sewage oozing up the floor drains in the basement. At this point, you will want to pick up the phone and call a professional plumber for help.

You Need to Call a Plumber Experts

How Your Home’s Drainage System and Sewer Lines Work

There are a series of drain pipes that are inside the walls and floors of your home. Each drain pipe is connected on one end to a different fixture, such as:

  • Toilets
  • Sinks
  • Bathtubs
  • Showers
  • Laundry Tubs
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing Machine

The other end of the drain pipe is connected to your home’s main sewer drainage line. Each drain line and the main sewer line are also connected to various vent pipes. You may have noticed these sticking out of your roof, especially in areas near bathrooms. The vents allow sewer gases and foul smells to escape, rather than waft back up the drain lines and into the home.

The main sewer drainage line runs from the home, outside, and is connected to your city’s sewer system or into your septic tank. Keep in mind, this is just a general overview of most home’s drainage system lines. Some homes have dual systems, where one drain line is for raw sewage and the other for gray water.

When you run water or flush the toilet, the water and any objects run down the drain line and into the main sewer drainage line. From there, it flows out of the house and into the city’s sewer system or your septic tank.

What Happens When There Is a Clog?

If a drainage problem occurs, it often means there is a blockage somewhere within the series of drain pipes that can affect how water drains and where it goes. For instance, if there is a major blockage in the primary sewer drain line just before it exits out of the house, it could cause water and raw sewage to back up all of the drains in the home on the lower floor.

If the clog is somewhere else, like at the location where the drain line connects to the main sewer line, then anything coming down drain lines and into the sewer line, prior to this blockage, could be rerouted back up that drain line.

To illustrate this type of clog, consider there is a sink, toilet, and shower connected to the main sewer line. The sink’s and toilet’s drain lines come before the shower’s drain line. A clog forms in the main sewer line just past where the shower drain line connects. If you turn on the sink faucets or flush the toilet, water and waste could flow back up the shower’s drain.

Signs of Clogged Drains and Sewer Lines

There are several warning signs you will notice when clogs are starting to form in drain lines and the primary sewer line. Learning to recognize these signs can mean the difference between having the drain lines cleaned and experiencing a serious clog with raw sewage and waste coming back up the drains.

Clogged Drains and Sewer Lines

  • Slow-Draining Water: This is a sign a clog has started to form and has not yet become a major problem.
  • Gurgling Sounds from Other Drains: If you hear this sound, it means there is a clog somewhere in one or more drain lines. Water cannot drain correctly, so it creates air bubbles.
  • Water Coming Up Drains: This is an indication there is a clog in the sewer line that is not allowing all the water or waste to flow out of the home.
  • Wet Areas Outside the Home: If you notice your grass is constantly wet, even when it is dry outside, this means water could be coming out of sewer line access pipes or the sewer line is broken.
  • Pooling Water in the Basement or Main Floor: If you notice water pooling in the basement, it could be coming up from floor drains. This often indicates the blockage is in the main sewer line.
  • Foul Smells Coming from the Drains: This indicates there is a blockage in the drain or sewer line where sewer gases are not venting correctly.

How to Determine the Source of the Clog

Based on the symptoms, it is possible to determine where the clog could be located within the drain lines or main sewer line. Normally, if there is just one drain that drains slowly or not at all, it means the clog is somewhere in that particular line.

On the other hand, if you notice several drains are draining slowly or water is flowing back up multiple drains when you run water someplace else or flush the toilet, then the clog is probably located in the main sewer drainage line. The location of the clog within the line will depend on which drains are experiencing problems.

Common Causes of Drainage System and Sewer Line Clogs

There can be all sorts of things that can cause clogs in drain and sewer lines. There really is no easy way to tell what is causing the clog until after you have drain cleaning and clog removal service performed by your local plumber. Keeping this in mind, the source of the clog could be caused by:

  • Grease
  • Hair
  • Soap
  • Detergents
  • Lint from Clothing
  • Food
  • Excessive Toilet Paper Usage
  • Flushing Items You Should Not (Paper Towels, Sanitary Napkins, Tampons, etc.)
  • Kids’ Toys
  • Jewelry

Why Hire a Professional for Drain Cleaning and Clog Removal?

want a professional plumber for drain cleaning

Since there can be more than one reason for a clogged drainage or sewer line, it can be difficult to troubleshoot and find the source of the problems on your own. Let’s assume you have multiple problems, where there are a few different minor clogs in drain lines prior to flowing into the main sewer line and blockages forming both in the main sewer line inside the home and outside the home.

You might use a plunger to clear out the clogs in the drain line. Yet, removing the blockages in the main sewer line requires more than a plunger. Since only part of the problem was fixed, the other blockages will still cause drainage system issues.

This is why you want to hire a professional plumber for drain cleaning and clog removal service. Having your drainage and sewer lines cleaned not only gets rid of the clog but also removes any buildup on the inside walls of the pipes, like soap, hair, or grease.

In some cases, the cause of the clog could be from tree roots that have grown into and through sewer drain lines outside the home. If this happens, then fixing the problem requires digging up the yard and replacing the damaged sewer lines with new ones. As you can imagine, this type of work can be rather messy and can be stinky since there is raw sewage involved.

If you are having problems with slow-draining drains, stopped up drains, clogs in sewer lines, or other plumbing problems, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in San Antonio, Austin, New Braunfels, or Temple today! You may also request drain cleaning and clog removal service by using our online non-emergency service request form.


Plumbing Tips for Pet Owners

Posted on May 16th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Pet care and plumbing safety aren’t often brought up together. However, dogs, cats, and other animals can interact with your drains and pipes in unexpected ways. Neglect certain practices, and you are likely to need a licensed plumber to fix the problem—immediately.

What to Do

Despite the risks posed by pet dander, curious animals, and thirst, there are things you can do to protect your plumbing and your pet. These include using:

  • Drain stoppers or strainers: Bathing a dog or cat is necessary, but just a small amount of shedding can cause a drain to clog. They may not seem to be shedding at the time. A rinse and a scrub can, however, release a lot of fur. The stopper or strainer will block the hair and prevent a big fuzzy glob from clogging things and causing a backup.

Home Drains Clean

  • Wrap pipes: There’s no guarantee a teething puppy or kitten won’t chew on an exposed pipe. They could get hurt or cause a major plumbing problem. Wrap pipes in a chew-resistant material or, if possible, hide them entirely so local plumbers aren’t needed for repairs.
  • Cover drains: A young animal that sticks its paw in a drain can be seriously injured. If they’re small enough, they could even fall in and get trapped inside the drain. That is why a cover is so important. Drain covers are easy to purchase and prevent the dangers of pets getting into open drains.
  • When washing a pet, check the water pressure and temperature: High water pressure can be uncomfortable for your pet and, at the worst, even injure them. Low pressure might prolong the cleaning process. You want it just right, so the experience is as positive as possible. Always test the temperature with the inside of your wrist, first, to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold.
  • Make sure there’s plenty of drinking water: Always leave water out. Thirsty pets can get desperate. It’s not unheard of for them to turn on faucets, which can be dangerous and cause a flood or high water bill.

What Not to Do

To avoid adverse impacts on your plumbing:

  • Don’t leave pipes exposed: Exposed pipes encourage clawing and chewing, which may lead to injury and a phone call to a 24-hour plumber.
  • Don’t flush pet waste or cat litter: Pet waste and litter can easily clog up pipes. If a cat enjoys reaching into the toilet bowl, the fur and litter it might carry can lead to clogs. Try to keep the toilet off limits.
  • Don’t keep the lid up: Close the lid so pets can’t reach the water. Besides, they risk getting hurt reaching in, and chemical residue from commercial cleaners can be harmful if ingested.

­­­­­Count on Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Christianson is a 24-hour plumbing service experienced in all types of installations and repairs. Whether problems are caused by pets or other factors, a licensed plumber will find the source of the issue and take the right course of action. For assistance, contact us today or call one of our local offices in case of an emergency.

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10 Ways to Avoid High Water Bills

Posted on May 7th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

The monthly bills eat into your budget, so it’s no wonder people often seek more affordable cable TV plans or utility companies with better rates. High water bills may require plumbing contractors to take a look at what is driving up the cost. While some might consider this an extra expense, addressing why the water rate is so high can help save money on the water bill in the long run.

According to CNN Money, the average household incurs a cost of $335 annually on water bills. If your monthly bill seems higher than it should be, and/or has gone up, here are some possible reasons why.

save money on the water bill

When to Call a Plumber

Plumbing contractors are experienced in dealing with water problems. Their knowledge and skill go way beyond using drain cleaner or a plunger, so finding and fixing a leak or clogged pipe before it’s too late can save you a great deal of money. Our first tip on avoiding high water bills is to call a plumber who can address the problem and ensure your plumbing system is functional and cost-effective.

  1. Contact a plumber if:
  • Water pressure is low: A lack of pressure can mean residue has clogged a pipe, a pipe is leaking, or one has completely fractured. The issue can be within your plumbing or a city-wide problem, but only a plumber can determine the root cause.
  • There are backups: Although a backup means no water is getting through, a blockage can trigger problems such as raw sewage and floods; it can also lead to a pipe rupture, so you can see how fixing the problem can lead to conserving on the monthly bills.
  • There’s no hot water: This may be caused by a failed pipe or a bad water heater, which can impact other utility bills. A plumbing inspection can identify the reason for water heater failure and decrease any costs associated with it.
  • You hear water running: When no water is being used, but water is heard running through the pipes, there’s likely a leak. Look for wet or brown spots on the walls or ceilings, which your plumber can use as a guide to find the source of the problem.
  • There are gurgling sounds: A drain problem may be the culprit if there’s gurgling sound while using the toilet, shower, dishwasher, or washing machine. You risk a backup by keeping these running and unnecessarily wasting water.
  • You experience slow drainage: This is another sign of a clog, which can damage the pipe, along with any method you might use to clear it. If the kitchen or bathroom sinks don’t drain properly, call a plumber.

Room by Room: How to Keep the Bills Down

The following tips will help keep the water bill down and protect the environment, just by changing some simple habits in and around the home. If you’re serious about how to save money on a water bill, try the following:

In the Kitchen

  1. Refrigerate drinking water: Either use bottled water or fill up a pitcher and store it in the refrigerator. You avoid running the tap while waiting for cool-enough water to drink. If the pitcher has a filter attached, that’s better. Or fill a cup from the tap and put some ice in. These methods are a water-saving alternative to keeping the tap running while the water cools off, unnecessarily wasting resources.

drinking bottle water

  1. Use a dishwasher properly: According to gov, a dishwasher uses six gallons of water, which amounts to less than washing dishes by hand. A kitchen faucet flows at two gallons per minute. Also, scraping food off plates is enough; there’s no need to pre-wash them. Your dishwasher will handle the rest of the cleaning. Only run the system when it is full, as the same amount of water is used no matter how big the load. The same goes for doing the laundry; wash only a full load of clothes before running the cycle.
  1. Install a faucet aerator: This novel device reduces water flow. By adding air to the outgoing stream, it limits the volume of flowing water, but it also compacts it to maintain or even increase the pressure. You only need to screw it onto the bottom of your faucet; no plumbing companies are needed. Some new faucets come with aerators pre-installed, saving as much as 700 gallons per year on your bills, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  1. Efficient water heating: Running the tap until it gets hot is a waste of time and—water. Instead, take some water and use the stove or microwave to heat it up. Therefore, none is wasted, other than what you intend to use. A point-of-use hot water heater is another option. Installed under the kitchen sink by plumbing contractors, it can supply hot water as soon as the tap is turned on, so it is useful when washing dishes and pots or fixing up hot drinks. Plus, it costs much less than wasting gallons of water at a time.

In the Bathroom

  1. Shorter showers: Low-flow showerheads keep water usage down, but so does reducing the time your shower head is running. During a 15-minute shower, it will use 37.5 gallons, but a five-minute shower will only draw 12.5 gallons. The U.S. Department of Energy also says low-flow models use just 2.5 gallons per minute, compared to older units that can use up to 5.5 gallons each minute, yielding a 25% to 60% reduction in your water bill. Sticking to the five-minute shower rule, you’ll also save with this alternative, compared to taking a bath.
  1. Check the toilet: A toilet leak can waste hundreds of gallons of water per day. From time to time, look for evidence of leakage, such as unusual sounds and evidence of moisture outside the toilet or on the floor. To save water here:
  • Drop a dye tablet into the tank; if you soon see colored dye in the bowl, there is a leak and a plumber should be called.
  • Change the toilet flapper every year to ensure it’s always working properly, or even install an adjustable one to adapt to the flush volume as needed, potentially saving gallons each time you flush.
  • Install a fill cycle diverter, which directs overflow water back to the tank while the toilet is filling.
  1. Turn off the water when brushing/shaving: The longer you run the faucet, the more water you waste. Only run the tap when you need to wash off your toothbrush. The same goes for shaving. Use your razor without the faucet on, running the water only when you need to rinse off. This potentially saves several gallons of water each time, as plumbing companies well know.

In the House

  1. Manage your hot water system: Foam insulation will prevent heat loss, so you’ll achieve the desired temperature faster, without waiting for running water to heat up. Also, move the hot water heater closer to where the hot water is used, so there’s less distance for heat to be lost. Other ways to reduce bills include installing a hot water recirculation system or a tankless hot water heater. Although an up-front investment, these can lead to lower bills and long-term savings. Also, don’t forget professional maintenance from time to time to avoid unforeseen inefficiencies and failures.

Outdoors

washing the car

  1. Focus on water conservation: Ways to conserve water use outdoors include attaching rain barrels to the gutter drain spouts; the water collected can be used for washing the car or watering the plants. Soaker hoses, wading pools, and garden mulch (reducing evaporation) reduce the amount of water you use. You’ll also save on water bills by sweeping the sidewalks, having drought-resistant plants, and washing the car less frequently (or going to a car wash).

Call Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Since 1950, we have addressed the various plumbing and air conditioning needs of customers throughout central Texas. We focus on what customers need, finding the right solution, being responsive, and providing exceptional service through training and a caring attitude. If you suspect a leak or a problem with a faucet, sink, toilet, or water heater, or wish to have a plumbing inspection, submit a service request or call one of the most respected plumbing companies in the region at 512-246-5400 in Austin and 210-651-1212 in San Antonio.

Sources

  1. http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/27/pf/water_bills/index.htm
  2. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/activity-drip.html
  3. http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/ways_to_save_water/waterleak_wide.shtml
  4. https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/plumbing/
  5. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/water-heating/reduce-hot-water-use-energy-savings
  6. https://www.epa.gov/watersense/bathroom-faucets


Tips on How to Stop Clogging Your Drains

Posted on May 7th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Stop Clogging Your Drains

Drain clogs can be rather annoying when they occur. Something has created a blockage in the drain pipes and is stopping water from flowing. In some cases the clogs can be so bad you have to call in a professional plumber to unclog the drain.

There can be all sorts of causes for clogged drains, from soap scum and hair to grease and food particles. Let’s take a look at some of the different areas of the home where clogs can occur and what you can do to prevent them!

Bathroom

The bathroom is the most-used room in the home where clogged drains can occur. The most common causes for clogged drains are soap scum, hair, toothpaste, makeup, hair gels, and other grooming products we use on a daily basis.

  • Bathtub/Shower: To prevent clogged bathtub and shower drains, you want to place a screen over the drain. The screen should be small enough to stop hair from going down the drain. After you bathe or shower and all the water has drained away, carefully lift the screen up and clean it off.

To clean the screen, do not rinse it under the faucet, as this will just put hair down the drain. Instead, use a damp cloth and wipe hair off the screen and into a trash can. Once a month pour about three gallons of hot water into the base of the shower/tub to help keep drain pipes clean.

  • Toilet: Toilet clogs occur when we use excessive amounts of toilet paper and try to flush it all at once. To help prevent clogs, flush the toilet after going to the bathroom to get rid of the waste, then again after using toilet paper.

Sink clogs

Another cause of toilet clogs is when the wrong things get flushed. You should never flush sanitary napkins, tampons, diapers, baby wipes, or other such materials down the toilet. These things should be disposed of in your regular trash.

To help keep the toilet drain line clean, get into the habit once a month of pouring five gallons of hot water down the toilet while flushing it at the same time. This will help remove any debris trapped on the inside walls of the drain pipes.

  • Sinks: Sink clogs typically occur from our normal grooming habits. Toothpaste, mouthwash, makeup, hair gels, shaving gels, and so on all end up going down the drain. Over time, they slowly build up on the inside walls of the pipes and create a clog.

You can help prevent clogs by using a fine mesh screen over the drains in the sink. The screens will catch larger particles and debris, as well as hair, and stop it all from going down the drain. Remember to clean the screens by wiping them off with a damp cloth over a trash can.

Once a month, fill the sink with hot water and then release the sink stopper. The volume of hot water creates added pressure to help remove anything stuck on the inside walls of pipes.

Kitchen

The kitchen is the second-most common area of the home where clogged drains occur. The causes for clogs are normally related to food particles, grease, and other things that get poured down the drain lines.

man fixing kitchen sink plumbing

  • Garbage Disposal: This appliance can be great at dealing with large chunks of food that end up down the drain after doing dishes by hand. However, many people think their garbage disposals will handle just about any type of food or food by-product. Unfortunately, they quickly discover that is not the case when the drain gets clogged.

Certain types of food should never end up in the garbage disposal, including:

  • Potatoes and Potato Peelings
  • Chicken Bones
  • Beef Bones
  • Turkey Bones
  • Coffee Grounds

Instead, keep a waste bucket to put these things in, as well as to scrape off food from plates prior to washing them. You can use the food waste to start a compost pile for gardening.

plumer repair dishwasher drain line

When you run the disposal, make sure to always use a steady stream of cold water. The cold water will prevent the oils and grease in food from being released and attaching inside drain lines.

  • Dishwasher Drain Line: The drain line on your dishwasher can clog if you do not have drain filters inside the dishwasher. Modern dishwashers normally have two types of screens—one for catching larger food particles and a very fine screen for stopping smaller food particles.

If you have a newer dishwasher with these screens, make sure to check them after each wash cycle and clean them at least monthly. To clean them, take them outside and use your garden hose and nozzle to gently spray them off. You should also clean your dishwasher once a month with an approved dishwasher cleaning product.

  • Sink: The main reasons kitchen sinks clog are from grease and soap scum. While you can’t do much about soap scum, you can do something about grease. Keep a metal can next to the sink to pour grease into rather than pouring it down the drain. If you need to drain ground beef or other meat, place a large bowl under a colander so it will catch the grease and prevent it from going down the drain.

About once a month, fill your sink with hot water, then release the stopper. Just like in the bathroom, this will help remove some of the debris from the inside walls of the drain lines. For dual-sided sinks, fill them both, then drain the one furthest from the main drain. Once that one is emptied, then let the water out of the second side.

Laundry Room

man fixing washing machine drain line

If your home has a laundry room or laundry area, you do need to be aware of potential clog issues and how you can prevent them.

  • Washing Machine Drain Line: The discharge drain line can develop clogs from dirt, debris, lint, hair, and soap scum. To help prevent this problem, you can get a screen attachment to put on the end of the drain hose. The screen is removable and can be cleaned. Just remember to take it outside and clean it there.
  • Sink: If you have a utility sink in your laundry room, you will want to use a screen over the sink drain. The screen will collect any hair or other debris to help prevent clogs.

Basement/Garage

Some homes have floor drains in the basement and garage to help drain away water. They can be found near the hot water heater or your washing machine. Since the drains are a safety feature, they are rarely used. Over time, dust and dirt can get into the openings and fall into the drain line.

Should an accident occur, like your hot water heater malfunctions and water runs out of it or a water line on the back of the washer breaks, the dust and dirt can cause a clog. To avoid a potential clog, use a fine mesh screen over the drains and clean the screen at least monthly. It is also a good idea to pour about five gallons of hot water slowly down the drains once a month.

Other Drain Clog Preventative Tips

plumber's special tools and equipment

Aside from using mesh screens and pouring hot water down various drains monthly, there are other things you can do to help prevent clogs from occurring. For instance, you should schedule annual drain cleaning service through your local plumbing company. The plumber will use special tools and equipment to help clean the drainage pipes and remove any debris that has started forming on the inside walls.

You can also have your plumber recommend a natural drain cleaning product that contains “good” bacteria. The “good” bacteria will eat the “bad” bacteria and other debris that causes drain clogs.

In addition, keep a plunger or two handy. Should a clog develop, you might be able to remove it using the plunger. You should never use chemical-based drain cleaners and clog removers, as these contain harsh chemicals that could damage your home’s plumbing.

For more drain clog prevention tips or to schedule drain cleaning, drain unclogging, or other plumbing services, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in Austin, San Antonio, Temple, or New Braunfels today!


What Things Shouldn’t Go in a Garbage Disposal and Why?

Posted on April 16th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Garbage disposals are wonderful appliances many homeowners have, as they help break down many different types of food wastes. When used correctly, they can prevent a clogged kitchen sink, compared to putting food waste down a sink drain without a disposal.

However, you need to remember, garbage disposals do not work with all types of food waste. This is a common misconception many homeowners take for granted. Unfortunately, they learn the hard way that their disposal was not designed for certain things when it stops working, a clog develops, or other problems appear.

Not sure if you are using your garbage disposal correctly? Then check out our plumbers’ list of things you should never put into a garbage disposal:

  • Rice and Pasta: Both rice and pasta will continue to absorb water, even after it is cooked to your preference. If you dump it down the disposal, the small bits that go down the drain will get bigger and can lead to clogs. Plus, pasta and rice can get stuck in the disposal’s drain trap.

noodles

 

  • Potatoes/Potato Peelings: Potatoes are starchy and can create a big mess in your disposal. Cold water and potatoes make a paste that is gummy and can create sink clogs. Potato peelings are equally starchy and also hard to grind up. Not to mention, any residues, if you do avoid problems, still smell very bad.
  • Hot Grease: Hot grease and cold water do not mix. The cold water causes the grease to cool and stick to the insides of the components on the disposal, as well as the drain pipes.
  • Bones of Any Size or Shape: Bones do not play well with your disposal. The blades might be able to crack and snap some smaller ones. Even if they do make it through the disposal, the bits and pieces can create a clog.
  • Coffee Grounds: The grounds may seem small and like they would go easily down the disposal. Yet this is not the case, and used coffee grounds can turn your sink into a big mess. The friction caused while running the disposal turns them into sludge.
  • Fibrous Vegetables: Vegetables that have fibrous strings in them, such as celery and asparagus, can cause problems for your disposal. The strings wrap around moving parts and components and can cause the disposal to overheat and stop working.
  • Corn Cobs/Silk/Husks: These things are rough on your disposal and only create more problems in the long run. The cobs will not break down easily and could create a clog. The silk and husks are stringy and will wrap around moving parts.

By avoiding putting these items into your disposal, not only will it last longer, but you also can avoid kitchen sink plumbing problems.

man fixing kitchen sink plumbing

In the event you do have a problem with your disposal, clogged sink, or any other plumbing problems, do not hesitate to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in Austin, New Braunfels, Temple, or San Antonio today!

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Six of the More Common Causes for Leaking Faucets

Posted on March 16th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Common Causes for Leaking Faucets

The faucets in your home can and do wear out over time from continued use. Most styles of faucets will give you some warning they are failing by starting to leak when shut off. The cause for a leaking faucet is often related to hardware failure. Some of the more common reasons faucets leak include:

  1. Bad Washers: The washer is the part inside the faucet that opens and closes when you turn the faucet on and off. The movement of the washer creates friction, which causes normal wear and tear. Eventually, the washer will not fit tightly against the valve seat and allow water to drip.
  2. Bad O-rings: O-rings are another internal part that can wear out. The O-ring is responsible for helping keep the seal in between the faucet cartridge or stem and the washer.
  1. Bad Seals: There are inlet seals in many faucet designs. These seals are what allow water to flow freely when the faucet is turned on and stop water when shut Seals can get damaged from excessive water pressure, sediment, and scale.
  2. Broken Hardware: If a piece of the internal hardware that makes up the faucet mechanism to turn the water on and off breaks, it may not function correctly. As a result, water could leak and drip out the faucet.
  3. Valve Seat Corrosion: At the base of the mechanism used to turn the faucet on and off is a valve seat. From repeated usage, as well as corrosion, the valve can wear out. A bad valve seat is easy to spot if you notice water dripping from around the handle area when the faucet is on or off.
  4. Bad Faucet Cartridge: In single handle faucet designs, there is a faucet cartridge inside that helps regulate the flow of hot and cold water. The cartridge can develop leaks as it starts to wear out.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Even though it might appear simple, how to fix a leaky faucet is not as easy as it might seem. You need to remember there are several different parts and components that make up the entire faucet assembly. Some people mistakenly assume fixing their faucet is a DIY-type project, only to discover they end up doing more damage and still have to call a professional plumber.

Faucet Repair

For dual-handled faucets, the ones where you have separate hot and cold water handles, there is more than just a cover and retaining screw. Other hardware used for these handles include:

  • Inlet Valves
  • Washers
  • O-Rings
  • Faucet Stem
  • Seat Rings
  • Valve Seats

In single handle faucets, the internal components could consist of ceramic-disks, cartridges, and ball-type mechanisms. These parts are in addition to washers, O-rings, inlet valves, and so on. Removing the cover off of single handle faucets can also be very tricky.

To avoid creating more damage and having to replace the entire faucet when it may not be necessary, it is better to call your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing in San Antonio, Austin, Temple, or New Braunfels today for assistance!

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7 Common Symptoms of a Sick HVAC

Posted on March 6th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Your home’s HVAC system is a complex air circulation system that helps control humidity levels, keep your home cool throughout the hot Texas summers, as well as warm on those occasional cold snaps we get in the wintertime.

Fortunately, your home’s heating and cooling system will let you know when things are not working correctly. Being able to recognize common symptoms of a potentially sick HVAC can help prevent more costly repairs in the long run. Better still is to remember to have your HVAC system inspected semi-annually to prevent it from getting sick!

To learn more about the 7 most common symptoms of a sick HVAC and potential causes, as well as reasons for HVAC failure and what to do if you notice any of the signs mentioned, we invite you to continue reading and reviewing the following infographic.

Afterward, if you would like to schedule HVAC maintenance or have further questions, please feel free to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing today!

7 Common Symptoms of a Sick HVAC Infographic

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Plumbing Leak Detection Tips: Areas of the Home to Check for Water Leaks

Posted on March 2nd, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Plumbing Leak Detection

To celebrate the EPA’s Tenth Annual Fix a Leak Week, which is March 19 through March 25, 2018, our plumbing leak repair experts want to share leak detection tips you can use around your home to check for water leaks.

Start by reviewing your water bills. If you notice your bills are slowly going up but your water usage has not changed, then you probably have a leak. Even if your bills have not gone up a lot, you may still have a minor leak.

The next tip is to read your water meter, then shut off all water in the home—don’t forget the automatic ice maker. After two hours or longer, check the meter. If the reading changes, it means water is leaking somewhere inside the home.

Once you determine you have a leak, you need to do a detailed inspection throughout the home. Start off by looking underneath the cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms. Are there water stains, signs of moisture, or water puddles underneath the sink? If so, then there is a leak somewhere from a bad fitting or cracked pipe.

In the bathroom, check around the base of the toilet for signs of dampness and water. Look under the toilet tank and check for dripping water. Verify if there are any water stains on the bottom of the tank or around the toilet bowl. If so, you could have a slow water leak.

You can also put a few drops of food coloring into the tank and wait about ten minutes. If you start to notice the colored water in the bowl, you have a toilet leak.

Check For Water Leaks

Tub and shower leaks can be a bit more difficult to notice if they are drainage leaks. If water stains start appearing on the ceiling or walls of your lower floor, below where the tub or shower is in upstairs bathrooms, or water is dripping in the basement or crawl space from under the tub or shower, you have a leak.

Why Check For Water Leaks?

According to the EPA, the average amount of water wasted by a home amounts to 10,000 gallons of water every year. In addition, ten percent of the homes with water leaks waste as much as 90 gallons or more every single day. The annual amount of water wasted nationwide from water leaks accounts for 1 trillion gallons. This is the average amount of water used by 11 million homes annually!

Should you discover a water leak, it is essential you have it repaired and fixed as soon as possible by our professional 24-hour plumbing service. Ignoring the leak will not make it go away. Instead, it will continue to leak and cause more damage to your home.

To have a leak fixed or if you need help finding a leak you know you have but cannot locate, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in Austin, San Antonia, Temple, or New Braunfels today!

 

Source

https://www.epa.gov/watersense/fix-leak-week


Plumbing Problems New Home Buyers Should Look For

Posted on February 28th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

It is important to make sure you do a home inspection prior to buying a new home. It does not matter whether you are building your new home or purchasing an existing home from the current homeowner. Inspections help ensure everything is in proper working order and helps identify potential problems.

new home for sale

Being made aware of any potential problems does not mean you should not buy the home. Rather, it means you should use this knowledge to negotiate the terms of the sale of the home. For instance, if the home needs new bathroom plumbing installed, you could require the current owner to replace it before you will buy the home. Another option is to request a lower sales price to offset your costs of replacing the plumbing after you purchase the home.

  • Home Buying Tip: Make sure to include a home inspection contingency period in your sales and purchase agreement. The contingency period should allow for a date range from pre-purchase/pre-closing to post-purchase to verify everything is as expected. The contingency should spell out who is responsible for any repairs or replacements and how these will be handled.

What plumbing areas should be inspected?

When you are viewing homes, you can do your own inspection of different plumbing areas to see if there are potential problems. Then, once you decide to make an offer on a home, you will want to have a professional conduct a detailed inspection. The areas that should be inspected include:

  • Sinks: Check for leaking faucets. Turn the faucets on to make sure water does not leak from the faucets while the water is running. Open up cabinet doors and look underneath for signs of leaks inside the cabinet.

Plumbing Problems

  • Water Pressure: Turn on the faucets and showers to ensure there is sufficient water pressure. You should turn on multiple faucets/showers to make sure pressure does not drop when more than one area of the home is running water. In addition, flush the toilet while the shower is on to see if the pressure drops or the water temperature changes.
  • Toilets: Open the tank lid and check the condition of the interior flush mechanisms. Flush the toilet and verify the tank fills up correctly. Look around the underside of the tank for signs of water leaks. Check around the base of the toilet for leaks. If you notice any discolored areas on the tank, toilet, or around the base, these could indicate leaks.
  • Hot Water Heater: Find out the age of the hot water heater. On average, tank-based heaters will last around ten years. If the tank is nearing this age or older, it will need to be replaced at some point in the near future. Look for signs of leaks and rust around the tank. Verify the tank has an emergency release mechanism, along with a drain pan under it.

Hot Water Heater

  • Sewage Drain Pipes: Even if water drains normally and the toilet flushes properly, it does not mean there aren’t potential issues with sewer lines. You will want to get a professional plumber to inspect the pipes for you and check for potential leaks, cracks, tree roots, and other problems.
  • Septic Tank: If the home has a septic tank, you will want to find out when the last time it was emptied. No one wants to buy a home and have to deal with an overflowing septic tank on move-in Your plumber can verify how full the tank is to give you an idea of when it will need to be emptied.
  • Type of Plumbing: You will want to know what type of plumbing is used throughout the home. Older homes, especially those built in the early 1980s and earlier, may have galvanized or lead pipes. Both of these types of plumbing lines should be replaced with modern pipes. Lead pipes can be a hazard to your health. Galvanized pipes can erode, rust, and create other plumbing problems.
  • DIY Plumbing Repairs: Look for signs of DIY plumbing repairs the existing homeowner may have done themselves. Your plumber can also check for these repairs. You want to verify the repairs they made were done correctly.
  • Basement/Crawl Space Plumbing: You want to check for signs of leaking pipes. Additionally, pipes should be protected against freezing for those occasional cold snaps we experience in the Austin and San Antonia areas.

Crawl Space Plumbing

  • Slab Leak Detection: Have your 24-hour plumber perform a slab leak detection if the home you built or are buying is on a slab and does not have a crawl space or basement.
  • Sump Pump: If the home has a sump pump, verify its age and condition. Your plumber can also check this for you, as well as verify it pumps water out of the holding tank correctly.
  • Air Conditioner Drain Pipe: Air conditioners will have a drain pipe for water to drain out of. You want to check this pipe to make sure it is not clogged and the water is draining away from the home and unit.

If you notice any issues during your initial walk-through and self-inspection, make sure to keep track of these. You will want to make sure to discuss any issues you found with your realtor when considering to make an offer to buy the home and how much to offer.

If you do decide to make an offer on the home, and the seller will be responsible for making the repairs, remember to schedule a follow-up post-repair inspection using your own plumber. You need to verify the repairs were completed correctly and as agreed upon.

plumbing inspection

Do you need a plumber to do a plumbing inspection separate from the “normal” house inspection?

A “normal” house inspection covers inspecting the entire home, from checking the roof to looking for signs of termites. Most professional and licensed home inspectors will also check the plumbing, along with the heating and cooling system. However, they may not always find every potential issue. This is because they have a checklist of items they are inspecting and certain plumbing and heating and cooling system items are not always on this list.

As such, it can be beneficial to hire your own plumber to inspect the plumbing and heating and cooling system. Your professional will know what problems and issues to look for and can uncover things missed during the whole house inspection.

  • Plumbing Inspection Tip: If there was already a whole home inspection completed, make sure to give your plumber a copy of the inspector’s report. They can use this to verify the plumbing and heating and cooling system items on the list were inspected and reported correctly.

What if I didn’t get a detailed plumbing inspection and discover problems after I move in?

24 hour plumbing services

If you remembered to include a home inspection contingency period in your sale agreement, then you would follow whatever terms and conditions you and the seller agreed upon. For instance, you call a 24-hour plumbing service, get an estimate of repairs, and then contact the seller or their agent to arrange payment of the repairs.

If you forgot to include a contingency period or if it has expired, then you will have to cover the costs of repairs yourself. Depending on the type of problem, a portion of the repairs or replacement could be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. You will want to contact your insurance agent to find out if you need to file a claim.

  • Bonus Home Buying Inspection Tip: With the home’s heating and cooling system, you want to verify its age. On average, most central air conditioning units last between ten and fifteen years, while furnaces last between fifteen and twenty-five years. If you are buying a home with an older heating and cooling system, it is equally important to get a detailed inspection to determine the average remaining useful life of the system.

To arrange a plumbing inspection along with a central heating and cooling system inspection for a home you are considering buying or have recently built, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in San Antonio, Temple, New Braunfels, or Austin today!

If you recently purchased a home and have discovered plumbing or heating and cooling problems, we are also here with regular and emergency 24-hour plumbing services!


Rookie Plumbing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Posted on February 20th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Rookie Plumbing Mistakes

You just bought your first home and notice there are a few plumbing problems that look like they might be simple and easy DIY repairs. However, you quickly discover what you thought was a simple problem quickly turns into a major repair because you took on more than you could handle. Now you are out the money you spent trying to save on repair costs. Plus, you have to pay a professional plumber to fix the mistakes you made, along with fixing the original problem.

Don’t feel bad about this, as most homeowners tend to make this mistake because they were not aware of the complexities required for the repair job. This is just one example of some common rookie plumbing mistakes homeowner make. Let’s take a look at some others and when you should call a professional for help.

Mistake #1: Not Having the Right Tools for the Job

You cannot use the same tools you would on your automobile to fix and repair plumbing problems. While some tools can be used, others are not compatible and will only make a small problem worse.

Right Tools for the Job

For instance, you decide to use a regular adjustable wrench to help tighten down a new sink fixture. The wrench slips off and scratches the fixture, leaving noticeable marks. You could also accidentally overtighten the retaining bolts and crack them, too.

To avoid these mistakes, you need to invest in a strap wrench, which is a special wrench with a rubber strap. The rubber strap prevents scratches and also accidentally over-tightening.

Another issue that arises from using the wrong tools is accidentally crimping or deforming of the pipe. It is easy to turn a perfectly round pipe into one that is pinched and oblong. This can create problems with water flow, create excess pressure on the pipe, and more. This is why you need the right tools or should call a professional plumbing service.

Mistake #2: Using the Wrong Types of Pipes

It is important to not mismatch pipes when fixing leaks or installing new sections of piping. Certain materials do not work well together, like copper and galvanized steel. If they come into contact, it can actually cause the pipes to corrode and deteriorate faster.

Another issue is when you are swapping out older pipes for new ones. If you are replumbing under the sink and swapping out metal pipes for PVC or plastic pipes, they require special connectors and pipe glue to prevent leaks.

Mistake #3: Not Using Plumbers Tape

Using Plumbers Tape

When attaching screw-type fixtures or pipes together, you may think all you have to do is screw one piece to the other. Yet, you quickly learn from your mistake when you turn the water back on and water is spraying out from in between the connection.

Small gaps are often left because the two pieces do not connect securely together. This is where the use of plumbers tape is required. This special tape helps create a secure connection that stops leaks.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Small Problems

Putting off repairs when you notice small problems is never a good idea. The problem can quickly escalate at any time. Then you are forced to deal with it immediately, even in the middle of the night. Instead of a regular service visit, you have to get emergency 24-hour plumbing service.

To illustrate how a small problem can become a nightmare for a homeowner, let’s say you have a small leak under the bathroom sink in between two pipes at the connection. Your initial solution was to verify the connection was tight, and you wrapped it in duct tape to stop the leak. You pat yourself on the back for a job well-done.

Planning for Cold Weather

You go to bed, and then, in the middle of the night, you are awakened by the sound of running water. You get up and step onto a wet floor. You go into the bathroom, turn on the light, and see water rushing out from under the sink cabinet.

What occurred when you wrapped the pipes and connection in duct tape? It created excess pressure on the connection. As the pressure built, it eventually caused the pipes to burst and come detached from the connection.

You call an emergency plumber—and that’s when you find out all that would have been required were new washers in between the connector and the pipes to stop the original leak. Since the pipes burst, you now not only have the water damage to clean up but also have to pay for the emergency repair service.

Mistake #5: Not Planning for Cold Weather

Most places in Texas will experience some cooler temperatures in the winter months. We have even gotten snow all across the state from time to time. While these cold snaps do not normally last that long, they could cause exposed water pipes to freeze, crack, or burst.

Garbage Disposal

Any water pipes that are exposed in your crawl space should be insulated from the cold. You also want to wrap any exposed pipes in your garage. Some people also will insulate pipes in their basement as an added safety measure.

Insulating your pipes also have other benefits besides protecting them from the cold. Once insulated, the pipes will have a lower amount of heat/cold transfer. This means cold water won’t feel warm on those hot summer days and hot water won’t take as long to get from your water heater to your faucet.

Mistake #6: Using Your Garbage Disposal as a Trash Can

Garbage disposals are great appliances to have, but they can only accommodate certain types of food waste. Some people attempt to put everything down the disposal, including plastic sandwich bags, straws, bones, potato peelings, coffee grounds, and more! These things are not designed to do down the drain and will only lead to a major clog.

Not to mention, they can damage the blades and mechanisms inside the garbage disposal. If the sink is clogged on the side where the disposal is installed, chances are something was put in it that it wasn’t meant to handle.

Mistake #7: Flushing More than Toilet Paper Down the Toilet

Some people also use their toilets to get rid of all sorts of waste, including disposable diapers, tampons, and sanitary pads. These items aren’t meant to be flushed. Instead, they should be put into your normal waste collection bins.

Mistake #8: Not Owning a Plunger or Two

Every homeowner should own at least one plunger. There are times when the toilet can clog from using too much toilet paper. Your sink could also get clogged with hair, food particles, and other such things that end up down the drain.

unclogging the drain

Clogged drains are one of the most common types of plumbing problems people have. In most cases, unclogging the drain just requires a plunger and a little bit of plunging.

As you can see, there are all sorts of mistakes anyone can make when they are not familiar with their home’s plumbing system, lack the proper tools, or attempt a repair beyond their abilities. This is why it is always a good idea to do the following:

  1. Determine the cause of the problem.
  2. Research what is required to fix the problem correctly.
  3. Decide if you have the right tools to do the job yourself.
  4. Be honest about whether the job is within your skill set.
  5. Call in a professional when you don’t want to do the repair, you lack the tools, or it is more complex than you can handle.

If you have a clogged sink or plumbing problems or are upgrading your sink, shower, tub, or toilet fixtures, please feel free to call your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing location in Austin, New Braunfels, San Antonio, or Temple today!



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