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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!


Five Warning Signs Your Dishwasher Needs to Be Repaired

Posted on February 16th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Your dishwasher is one of the most used appliances in your kitchen. You rely on it to make sure dishes get washed on a regular basis, instead of stacking up in the sink. Whether you are responsible for loading, starting, and unloading the dishwasher or you have your tween or teen do this chore, you need to make sure your dishwasher is operating correctly.

Dishwasher Repairs

There are several warning signs to watch for that often indicate dishwasher repairs are needed. Catching some of these before they become major could mean the difference between having to invest in a new dishwasher and getting a few more years out of your current one.

  1. Water will not pump into the dishwasher.

Dishwashers have sensors and water pumps they use to let the computer inside them know when to pump water in and pump it out. If this sensor is dirty, has become stuck, or has broken, it needs to be repaired. If the pump has failed, it also needs to be replaced. These repairs are something your plumber can do because it requires taking the dishwasher apart.

Tip: Never run a dishwasher that will not pump in the water. You can cause the appliance to overheat and fail completely.

  1. Water will not pump out of the dishwasher.

This problem could be the sensor we mentioned above, a broken drain pump, or a clogged drain. You can check to see if food and other particles are blocking the drain in the bottom of the dishwasher. If not, then it is time to call in a plumber to troubleshoot the problem further.

  1. Dishes are coming out dirty.

If your dishes are not clean, this could be caused by several different problems. Modern dishwasher soaps do not require rinsing dishes. If you are rinsing the dishes, the soap is not as effective, so food particles could remain. Another cause is if the drain screens or drain are starting to clog and food particles are left in the bottom after the last wash cycle. These get blown around by the water on the next cycle and end up sticking to dishes.

Dishwasher Repair San Antonio

  1. Water is leaking from under the door.

If water is leaking out during wash cycles, it could indicate the door seal needs to be replaced. Seals do wear out over time and no longer fully seal when you shut the door. Another thing to check before calling your plumber is if there are any dishes pushing against the door. The slightest pressure on the door could allow it to remain open just enough for water to run out and onto the kitchen floor.

  1. The dishes are not hot after a wash cycle.

The water inside the dishwasher is heated during wash and rinse cycles. If your dishes don’t feel hot at the end of the cycle, this often indicates a problem with the heating coil in the bottom of the machine.

For dishwasher repair in San Antonio, Austin, New Braunfels, or Temple, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing location today!

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Emergency Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Posted on January 30th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

From non-stop leaking faucets to a leaking water heater, there are several emergency plumbing tips every homeowner needs to know. These tips let you know what to do to contain the problem and protect your home against water damages.

You will need to know the location of your breaker box and where the water main shutoff for your home is located. Depending on the type of plumbing emergency that arises, you may need to shut off the water to the home as well as the breakers for specific types of appliances.

Emergency Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner

Broken Water Pipes

Water pipes can break for a variety of reasons. If you have a broken water pipe, you need to shut off the water main right away. Turn on the faucets in the house to remove as much water as possible. You want to also clean up any standing water that is inside the home. Remember to shut off breakers for the hot water heater, water softener, and so on.

Leaking Water Pipes

Leaking water pipes can do more damage to the home than broken pipes. This is because leaks can be harder to notice. By the time you do, water could have gotten into insulation, wood, and other areas of the home not easily accessible.

You will want to shut off the water main and drain all water out of the pipes like you would for a broken pipe if you do not know the source of the leak. If the leak is coming from a specific location, like from under the dishwasher, you may only have to shut the water off under the kitchen sink. Additionally, if the leak is related to a water-type appliance, shut off the breaker to that appliance.

Plumbing

Leaking Toilets

Shut off the water to the toilet and flush it to drain the tank and bowel as best you can. It is a good idea to put buckets under the leak or use towels to keep water contained, as there will still be some water left in the toilet.

Leaking Faucets

Shut off the water under the sink or in the tub/shower access area to the leaking faucet. Turn it on to drain out any remaining water.

Leaking Hot Water Heaters

For this problem, shut off the water main into the home. Turn off the hot water heater breaker. Then, turn on both hot and cold faucets to drain most of the water out of the pipes and the tank. Your water heater should have a drain pan under it with a connected drain. Any remaining water should remain contained and go down the drain.

Clogged Toilets and Sinks

Try using the appropriate plunger to unclog the blockage. Do not flush the toilet or add more water to the sink. If you choose to use a clog-removal product, verify it is compatible with your plumbing system.

After taking the necessary steps to address the plumbing emergency, call your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing location in Austin, New Braunfels, San Antonio, or Temple for emergency plumbing services.

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How Plumbing Leaks Can Attract Rodents and Pests

Posted on January 5th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Rodents and pests need water to survive much like we do. If you have a water leak in your plumbing lines or a leaky faucet that leaves water in the sink or tub all of the time, you are essentially rolling out a “welcome mat” for all the rodents and pests near your home. To prevent rodent and pest problems in your home, you need to do occasional leak checks. If you find one, call our 24-hour plumbing service to get it fixed promptly.

What Types of Pests Can Water Leaks Attract?

Rodents are one type of pest water leaks attract. Rodents are a broad category used for a variety of furry animals, including:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Chipmunks
  • Squirrels

Rodents and Pests

Rodents will look for water leaks under crawl spaces, as this will provide a steady source of water. They will also drink water dripping from outdoor spigots. Some of these rodents can also climb. So, if your eaves and gutters are clogged up with leaves and there is standing water, that will attract rodents, too.

Two other small mammals that could be attracted to your leaks are:

  • Raccoons
  • Possums

These are in the carnivora and marsupial classes, respectively, but if they are in your house you will probably just call them nuisances.

Insects and arachnids are the other types of pests that water leaks can attract. Some of the more common insects and arachnids you might notice in your home include:

  • Cockroaches
  • Termites
  • Carpenter Ants
  • Powderpost Beetles
  • Mosquitoes
  • Fire Ants
  • Black Ants
  • Red Ants
  • Spiders
  • Scorpions
  • Silverfish
  • Booklice

Unlike rodents, noticing various insects and arachnids are invading your home can be problematic, as you may not notice signs of an infestation right away, allowing them to build their colonies or homes undetected and right under your nose.

Pests and Water Leaks

  • TIP: If you notice an increase in rodent or insect activity inside or around your home, this is often a good indication there is a water leak somewhere nearby.

What Types of Damages Can Pests and Water Leaks Do to My Home?

Water leaks are bad if they are in plumbing lines in the subflooring, walls, or underneath sink cabinets. As the water slowly drips out from the source of the leak, over time it wets the wood, insulation, laminate, concrete, and other such materials used to build your home.

With the passing of time, and thanks to the warm and humid conditions we have here in Texas, mold and mildew will start to grow and form near the water leak. Not to mention, the wood will start to soften and rot and, eventually, the water will become so excessive, it can start to soak into the backside of drywall.

Ultimately, the drywall will give out, and you could end up with water running out of the wall or from your ceiling into your home. If the water is leaking under your shower, tub, or toilet, it is not uncommon for the floor to become spongy and then give way. In addition to the water running out, you may find your shower, tub, or toilet falling through the floor! Not while occupied, one hopes.

Water Leaks My Home

This is just the damage from the water leak itself, not any damage caused by pests. With pests, the extent of damage depends on the type of pests that invade the home. Let’s take a look at some of the types of damage pests can cause inside your home when you have a water leak.

Rodents and Other Small Mammals

Rodents and other small animals love to find places where they can feel safe and secure. They build nests to mate and have babies. The insulation inside your walls or attic makes a great material and location where they can mate, have babies, and build families. They also love chewing on wood, PVC and plastic-type plumbing, electrical wires, and even concrete.

If they have access to a source of water inside your home, they could easily move in for the long haul. Plus, if you have pets and leave pet food out, it’s a double win for the rodents since they also will have easy access to a source of food.

Rodents and Other Small Mammals

Another concern with rodents is they carry various illnesses and diseases that can affect both humans and your pets. Some even carry the rabies virus, so, if you are bitten or scratched, you could be looking at a long series of shots.

Wood-Destroying Pests

Termites, carpenter ants, and powderpost beetles love destroying rotting wood. If you have a water leak, the wood in your home starts to rot. These pests like hiding in the dark, away from prying eyes. However, you might get lucky and notice a carpenter ant or powder post beetle inside your home.

If you do, then you probably want to check for water leaks. Termites are harder to spot and tend to avoid light as much as possible. Some signs of termites you might notice around the home could include:

  • Small mud-like tubes on the sides of your home.
  • Paint that is peeling or bubbling up on the ceilings or walls.
  • Soft spots on hardwood or laminate flooring.
  • Small pin-sized holes in cabinets or drywall.
  • A sawdust-like powder along the baseboards.

You will want to get your home treated for the wood-destroying pests and repair any damages they caused. Part of your repairs should include having a qualified plumber fix the water leak.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes

Standing water provides an ideal area for mosquitoes to breed and lay eggs. If your eaves and gutters are clogged up or there is a puddle of water under the house from a water leak, mosquitoes will become a problem around your home. If you notice an increase in these pests, start looking for sources of standing water nearby.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches can live for several weeks without food, but they do need water more often. Other than being an annoyance, they can carry bacteria and diseases, which they spread around the home. Not to mention, they can fit into rather small spaces, so they could get inside electronics or appliances, where they can lay eggs.

Spiders, Ants, Scorpions, Silverfish

These creepy crawlies can be annoying if their numbers start to grow inside your home. With certain species of spiders and scorpions, you do have to be careful, as their bite could be painful, much like being stung by a bee or wasp. When it comes to ants, red and black ants tend to not bite humans. However, fire ants will, and the bites can be unpleasant and painful.

Spiders

Booklice

Booklice are not actual lice, being in the order psocids, but they are about the same size. They eat mold and mildew growing in your home. If you have a water leak, they will multiply quickly because water promotes the growth of mold and mildew.

Checking for Signs of Water Leaks in the Home

There are several areas of the home you can check on your own to see if you might have a water leak that could attract pests:

  • Check all faucets for slow dripping leaks. If a sink, tub, or shower faucet is leaking, it will leave water in the bottom that will attract pests. Fixing this type of leak is very easy, as the hardware inside the faucet often needs to be replaced and, when that is not possible, a new fixture should be installed.
  • Look under sinks for signs of leaks and drips. Discolored stains on items under the sink or on the base of the cabinet indicate an occasional or slow leak. If you notice standing water, then you have a bigger leak problem. Another indication of under-cabinet leaks would be if the baseboard is warped, curved, or the base has soft spots in it.
  • Look under and behind appliances that use water. Your washing machine, ice maker, dishwasher, refrigerator, or other water-using appliances can develop leaks over time. The washers that connect plumbing lines and prevent leaks can wear out and no longer seal correctly. Water lines can also get damaged if your water pressure in the home is too high.

Signs of Water Leaks in the Home

  • Check your basement or crawl space. Look for areas of wetness or standing water. If you have a sump pump in your home in the basement or crawl space, check to make sure it is properly covered so any standing water does not attract pests.
  • Check outdoor spigots and make sure they turn on and off correctly. These faucets can wear out and develop slow leaks when washers do not shut correctly.
  • Clean your eaves and gutters to prevent clogs. Remove leaves and debris from the eaves and gutters to prevent standing water.
  • Check around the hot water heater. Water should not drip out of the hot water heater. Nor should there be any standing water underneath it.

If you discover any type of water leak, it is important to get it repaired as soon as possible to avoid costly repairs and pest problems.

  • TIP: If you notice your water bill increases from one month to the next and your water usage has stayed the same, it could indicate you have a water leak somewhere in your home.

For help finding water leaks in your home, more tips on how to check for water leaks, or to schedule a water leak inspection or plumbing repairs for your home, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing location in Austin, Temple, San Antonio, or New Braunfels today!


Is Your Heating System Too Loud? Cycling On and Off? We Can Fix That

Posted on January 5th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Your home heating system should run fairly quietly when it is operating correctly. The only types of noises you should hear are the movement of air out of ducts and possibly a clicking sound at the thermostat signaling the unit to turn on and shut off at the end of the heat cycle.

Heating System

Unless you are right next to the furnace, you should not hear the actual sounds of the furnace running. If you can hear the sound of the blower motor, blower motor fan, or other types of noises throughout the home, it could indicate something is wrong with your furnace.

Troubleshooting the cause of the noises will depend on the type of system installed in your home. Let’s take a look at some of the various systems and common causes of noises.

Radiator/Radiant Heating Systems

These types of systems use hot water to deliver heat to the rooms in your home. Newer designs allow for radiant heat systems to be installed under flooring without the need for a radiator in each room.

Radiator Radiant Heating Systems

In order to transport the hot water through the system, various plumbing pipes are used, similar to your water pipes. These systems can produce banging or knocking sounds when there are no air relief valves attached to the water lines or the pipes are not secure in the walls or subflooring.

When the flow of the hot water is abruptly stopped when the system shuts off and there are no pockets of air in the relief valves, it “hammers” against the side of the pipes from the reverse flow.

To illustrate, think about a vehicle crash test into a solid steel wall. Upon impact, the car hits the wall and the force of the impact causes it to move backward. The same is true when the water in the radiant heat system shuts off and the pressure cannot be released through air relief valves.

In cases where you hear a constant banging while the system is in operation in different areas throughout the home, this signifies the pipes were not properly secured when they were installed. The pipes can bang against interior structures and cause an echo effect.

Radiant Heating Systems

Aside from banging, other noises you could notice include hissing sounds and cracking and popping sounds. Hissing sounds are caused when there is a restriction in the pipes, like from scale buildup, where the water flow has to pass through a narrow section. Cracking and popping sounds occur when there are instances of scale buildup, corrosion, and any other sediments in the hot water or boiler tank.

Resolving these problems is not difficult as long as you get help from a qualified and experienced plumbing and heating repair company. The reason we recommend using a professional is that working with hot water lines can be dangerous and could result in personal injuries from the hot scalding water.

Conventional Furnace Systems

These types of systems are where you have the furnace installed somewhere inside the home, like your garage or basement, and it is connected to your outdoor AC condensing unit. Most people refer to this type of system as central heating and air conditioning.

Conventional Furnace Systems

Some of the more common noises you might hear from a conventional furnace system could include:

  • Hissing – Hissing noises can occur when there is a restriction or blockage in the ductwork and the air is being forced around it.
  • Clicking – If you notice clicking noises coming from the furnace unit, it could mean many different things, such as certain components are not engaging when they should and the relay switches keep clicking attempting to turn them on or off.
  • Cracking and Popping – Cracking and popping noises could emit from your furnace if the heat exchanger or heating element inside the unit is damaged or cracked.
  • Banging – Banging can occur if parts and components are loose, like the blower motor fan blades banging against the inside of the unit because they are no longer securely attached.

Packaged Heating and Cooling Systems

Packaged systems are all-in-one units that are installed outside the house. They provide both heat and air conditioning for the entire home. These types of systems are very popular in southern areas of Texas where it does not get that cold in the winter.

It can be harder to notice sounds coming from packaged systems inside the home. However, if you notice the unit seems a bit louder, and you can hear it turn on and off, hear the fan, or other sounds from inside the home, then there could be problems that require an inspection from a cooling and heating system technician.

Heating and ooling Systems

Other Types of Heating Problems

Aside from making noises, there are other problems that can occur when firing up your heater for the first time. Initially, you might notice a burning smell coming from the air vents in your home with conventional and packaged systems.

This is normal and should dissipate after one or two cycles. If the smell persists for more than two cycles, then there is a serious and potentially dangerous problem with the system. Shut it off immediately and call for emergency service right away.

If you have a gas furnace, and you notice the thermostat clicks but nothing happens, the pilot light might have gone out. No pilot light—no heat. However, do take caution when checking the furnace, as gas will still continue to come out.

If the pilot is out, shut it off, open and air out the room, and wait an hour before attempting to relight the pilot. If the pilot continues to go out after being lit, this is when it is time to call in a professional.

Other Types of Heating Problems

Other common problems have to do with the cycling on and off of the system. There is a variety of different issues based on the type of system you have installed in your home, but could include:

  • Blower motor fan continues to run even after the unit has cycled on and off.
  • Blower motor fan does not engage during the furnace cycle.
  • The blower motor turns on before the furnace does.
  • The furnace cycles continuously and never shuts
  • The furnace cycles on and off almost constantly with only a minute or two between cycles.
  • The furnace only runs for a few minutes and shuts off before reaching the preset temperature on the thermostat.
  • The thermostat clicks to signal the furnace to turn on, but it never does.

Troubleshooting these types of problems can be very complex because they could involve electrical systems, electrical wiring, natural gas lines, pilot systems, plumbing systems, and more.

In some cases, the problem could be as simple as a broken or loose wire that needs to be fixed and reattached to the right connection on the thermostat. Other times, the problem could be due to the age of the system and various parts and components wearing out.

As such, it is in your best interests and safety to contact a professional plumbing and heating technician to troubleshoot and diagnose what is wrong with your home’s heating and cooling system.

  • TIP: To avoid unexpected heater failures and emergency service calls, schedule bi-annual heating and cooling maintenance services with your professional technician in the fall and spring. The spring service inspects and verifies your AC is ready for the hot Texas summers, while the fall service inspects your furnace to ensure it will provide heat on those colder winter mornings.

For problems with your home’s heating system or to schedule maintenance service, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing location in Austin, New Braunfels, Temple, or San Antonio today!



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