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Is a New HVAC Unit Tax Deductible?

Posted on July 24th, 2021 by ChristainSon_Admin

Ac air appliance change checking clean condition

Energy Star equipment tax credits for residential homeowners were extended by the IRS through December 31, 2021. Taxpayers who make qualifying home improvements before the end of 2021 can claim a tax credit when they file their 2021 tax returns.

Included in the eligible tax credits are certain HVAC systems that meet specific qualifying requirements when you have a new system installed by a professional heating and cooling company. There are two specific qualifying conditions you must satisfy to be eligible for a federal tax credit, as follows:

#1: The new air conditioner must be installed at your primary residence.

You can only qualify for the tax credit when the new system is installed in your primary residence. For most people, this will be their existing home. If you own more than one home, only the one you use as your primary residence qualifies for the tax credit.

#2: The new air conditioner must meet energy-efficiency improvement requirements.

The new HVAC system must meet the required energy efficiency rating. Energy efficiency ratings are determined by the type of system you have installed. It is highly recommended you review what systems qualify for the energy property tax credit with your HVAC installer to ensure you select an eligible unit.

How Much Is the Energy Efficiency Tax Credit Worth?

The maximum amount of the energy efficiency tax credit will vary depending on the type of system installed. You could qualify for a tax credit if you have one of the following HVAC systems installed in your home:

  • Gas Furnace
  • Split System Heat Pump
  • Packaged AC System
  • Heat Pump/Dual Fuel Systems
  • Central Air Conditioning Split Systems
  • Gas Furnace or Packaged System with an Advanced Main Air Circulating Fan

Qualified home improvement HVAC system installations can earn tax credits ranging from $50 to $300. However, some homeowners may qualify for 10% of the installed costs up to $500 maximum.

Why Does This Home Improvement Incentive Exist?

In efforts to get homeowners to make energy-efficient home improvements, the federal government rolled out the incentive program back in 2006. Since that time, they have continued to renew the program, extending its expiration date. Originally, the program was slated to expire on December 31, 2020. However, it was extended for another year.

There is no guarantee the program will be extended beyond 2021. Furthermore, each time the program is extended, the amount of qualifying energy-efficiency tax credits have been gradually reduced. So, if you have been thinking about having a new HVAC system installed and want to take advantage of the federal tax credits, now is the perfect time.

Aside from the energy property tax credits for HVAC systems, there are tax credits for qualifying water heaters as well. You can combine tax credits up to the maximum $500 amount.

How Do You Claim This Tax Credit?

Accountant working with US tax forms

To claim the energy-efficient home federal tax credit, you need to fill out IRS Form 5695 and complete Form 1040 when preparing your federal income tax return. If you use a tax preparation software or application, make sure to select that you need to fill out Form 1040.

The application should prompt you by asking questions about energy-efficiency improvements you made to your home. If you have a tax accountant prepare your tax return, simply let them know you want to claim this tax credit on your 2021 tax return.

Find Out How Much You Could Qualify For

If you want to find out how much you could qualify for when you have a new HVAC system installed in your home, please feel free to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Call us at 512-246-5400 to schedule an in-home consultation in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or the Austin Metro Area today!

We can also provide you information about water heater replacements that qualify for federal tax credits.

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10 Signs Tree Roots Are Growing in Pipes

Posted on July 22nd, 2021 by ChristainSon_Admin

Split drainage pipe caused by ingress of tree roots

Most homeowners in Texas will have trees on their property to help provide shade, especially on those hot summer days. However, while trees provide shade, they can cause problems with your home’s water and sewer pipes.

When roots get in pipes, it is essential to resolve the problem sooner than later. Otherwise, you end up with more plumbing problems and repairs to fix.

How do tree roots grow in pipes?

Tree roots seek out moisture to provide water for the tree. In general, most tree root systems are about three times larger than the height of the tree. So, if you have a ten-foot-tall tree, the root system is roughly thirty feet long!

The root system also extends over a wide area under the ground to help keep the tree in place. When water leaks develop in water pipes and sewer pipes, tree roots are attracted to it. Very small parts of the tree root can grow into tiny cracks and openings in the plumbing pipes to get to the water.

As the roots get inside the pipe, they gradually become bigger and bigger. Eventually, their size can cause water and sewer pipes to become obstructed and prevent the flow of water and sewage.

Additionally, the larger roots can cause the pipes to crack and break. Depending on whether it is your water line or sewer line that cracks and breaks, you may not notice right away, unless you know what signs to watch for that could indicate tree roots are in the pipes.

How fast do tree roots grow in sewer pipes?

All tree roots see out water, oxygen, and nutrients to help the tree thrive and grow. The roots will grow in any direction necessary, including into sewer pipes. Most tree roots grow the most from spring through fall.

How fast tree roots grow in sewer pipes is much faster than growing in the dirt. Since the roots have access to a constant supply of water, oxygen, and nutrients in the sewer line, not only will the tree thrive and look very healthy, but the root system will expand and grow much quicker.

In general, depending on the size of the sewer line, it could take anywhere from a year to three years before the roots completely clog the sewer line. The smaller the pipe’s diameter, the faster it will clog.

With water lines, the rate of growth is about the same. Initially, when tree roots first enter sewer or water pipes, most people will not notice anything until something goes wrong with their home’s plumbing.

What signs should homeowners watch out for?

young woman checking faucet while having problem with dropping faucet in kitchen

Sign #1: Strange Odors

If you notice strange odors coming from drain lines, it might indicate a tree root problem. However, it could also indicate there is yucky stuff inside the drain pipes that just need a professional drain cleaning to remove.

Sign #2: Water drains away slowly.

Slowly draining drains could indicate tree roots in the sewer lines. Yet again, it could also be a problem that requires a drain cleaning service to clean away accumulated deposits inside the drain pipes.

Sign #3: Toilets have lost their “oomph.”

When you flush the toilet and the water seems not to go down as powerfully as it used to, it might indicate that tree roots are growing inside sewer pipes. A clog could also be developing if you flushed down items you shouldn’t have in the toilet like paper towels, tissues, or baby wipes.

Sign #4: You hear gurgling coming from drains or toilets.

When water is draining down one drain line, you might notice gurgling sounds coming from other drains in the home or the toilets. You might also hear these sounds when you flush a toilet.

Sign #5: Toilets back up when flushed.

When you flush the toilet, it could back up, or other toilets in the home could back up if there are tree roots in your sewer line.

Sign #6: Your water bill increases unexpectedly.

If you notice your water bill is increasing, yet you are not using any more water than usual, this could indicate tree roots have grown into your main water line. However, this sign could indicate there are water leaks as well.

Sign #7: You notice parts of your yard are sinking into the ground.

Leaks from sewer and water lines when tree roots have damaged them can cause the ground to become overly saturated with moisture. Eventually, the weight of the wet soil causes it to sink into the ground.

Sign #8: You notice certain trees are growing more quickly than other trees in your yard.

If a few of the trees on your property look greener and have a lot more new growth than others, this often indicates that they have found a steady source of water, typically from sewer or water lines.

Sign #9: You notice a drop in water pressure.

Water pressure will not drop unless there is an obstruction of some sort. When tree roots grow into water supply lines, the blockage will cause water pressure to drop.

Sign #10: You notice pipes are making a banging noise or whistling noise.

When you turn on the water, flush the toilet, or drain the tub or a sink full of water and hear banging noises or whistling noises, this could indicate the water pipe or sewer pipe has been cracked or crushed, allowing air to flow into the pipe.

Tree Roots in Pipes Removal

service man, plumber or electric

Several different tree roots pipe removal options are available, depending on the extent of the problem, as follows:

Sewer Root Removal

Small tree roots can be removed using a special pipe auger that cuts the roots away and clears the clog from the sewer pipe or water pipe. However, this is a temporary solution to the problem. The same leaks and cracks that allowed the tree roots inside the pipe will remain. So, the problem will return again.

Sewer Pipe Lining

Sewer pipe lining is a more permanent solution to tree roots in pipe problems. The tree roots are removed first using sewer root removal processes. Once the roots are gone, a pipe lining is inserted inside the existing pipe. Even though there are cracks and leaks in the original pipe, the new pipe lining blocks those to prevent tree roots from returning.

Sewer Pipe Bursting

Sewer pipe bursting is another minimally invasive way to fix sewer and water lines that tree roots have invaded. This method is also a permanent solution that is better to use when the pipes have extensive cracking and breaking.

The new sewer pipe is connected to a winch. A special pointed-head is put on one end of the new pipe. It is then pulled through the existing line, clearing out the tree roots and damaged sections to create a new section of pipe fitted to the existing sewer or water line.

Sewer Line Replacement

The final option to eliminate tree roots from water and sewer lines is to replace the existing pipe with a new one. This process requires digging up larger sections of the yard to have full access to the sewer line or water line.

The old sewer line or water is removed from the ground, along with the tree roots in the pipes. Next, a new section of sewer line is installed and connected on both ends to the existing line. Sewer line replacement is also a permanent solution to tree root problems.

To determine which tree root pipe removal option is best, a camera inspection should be performed first. Camera inspections help determine where the obstructions are located. They allow you to find out if tree roots are the problem or if you simply need a professional drain cleaning service instead.

If you suspect tree roots might be growing into your water and sewer pipes, you will want to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing to schedule a camera inspection as soon as possible.

After we conduct the inspection, we will advise on the problem and make recommendations on how to resolve it. Please feel free to call us at 512-246-5400 to schedule an appointment today! We can also take care of your other plumbing or air conditioning problems in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or the Austin Metro Area.

How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home

Posted on July 8th, 2021 by ChristainSon_Admin

As a homeowner, it’s important to know how to prevent water damage in your home. Water damage does more than make things wet. Excess moisture on any surface can lead to mold and mildew, and some can be harmful to your health. Water damage can also cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix.

When it comes to water damage prevention, there are external and internal factors to consider. On the outside of your home, remove all debris from gutters and downspouts. It’s also important to disconnect hoses, especially during the colder months, as the standing water can freeze. This increases the risk of a blockage or burst pipe.

When beautifying your home, avoid planting bushes, trees, and thick-rooted plants near pipes. Eventually, the root system could wrap around and break underground pipes.

Most importantly, keep an eye on water drainage. When it rains, water should be moving away from your home. Otherwise, you risk water puddling against your home’s foundation.

There are also some interior things you can do for successful home water damage prevention.

Make sure everyone in your household knows where the water main shutoff is located. In the event of a plumbing problem, turning off the main water supply is critical in minimizing water damage.

Unsure if you have a plumbing issue? Keep tabs on your water bill. An unexpected jump in water usage could mean you have an undetected leak.

Ensure that your showers and bathtubs are properly sealed using waterproof caulk. This prevents water from seeping through onto the drywall.

It’s also important to regularly inspect your appliance faucets and hoses. Make sure that there are no leaks coming from your dishwasher, ice maker, washing machine, or water heater.

If you suspect you have a leak or an undetected plumbing issue, or if you need water damage cleanup and restoration services, look no further than Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our team of experts use state-of-the-art tools and techniques to protect your home from water damage.

How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home Infographic

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Can Facial Tissue Be Flushed Down the Toilet?

Posted on June 24th, 2021 by ChristainSon_Admin

hand picked tissue form pink box

It is not uncommon for people to interchangeably use toilet paper and facial tissues. For example, they might use toilet paper to blow their nose when tissues are not handy. They may use facial tissues to wipe when they run out of toilet paper.

However, there are some key differences between the two and the effects they can have on your home’s sewer system.

What is the difference between facial tissue and toilet paper?

Facial tissue and toilet paper are both paper products. They are designed for single-use applications. These are the only two similarities between the two.

Facial tissues have a special coating on the paper that helps the tissues retain their shape and absorb moisture. Some tissues have lotions or other coatings to help keep the nose soft and from getting red and irritated.

Compared to facial tissues, toilet paper is designed to be absorbent when used. Yet, it will start to dissolve and break down in a short period of time when exposed to water. Depending on the toilet paper quality, this could occur as soon as it is discarded into the toilet bowl.

What happens if you flush facial tissues?

Facial tissues are not designed to break down quickly. While they will degrade over time, it can be days or weeks before the tissues start breaking down. Since tissues retain their shape longer, they can cause all sorts of problems if you flush them down the toilet.

Tissues can get stuck in various areas of your home’s sewer system. If you flush multiple tissues simultaneously, you could accidentally create a clog that can be difficult to remove. Not to mention, facial tissues are not as easily processed by water treatment plants and will cause septic system tanks to fill up faster.

What can you do if your toilet clogs from flushing facial tissues?

If you clog your toilet from flushing facial tissues, there are a few things you can do. The first thing you do is use a plunger to try to remove the clog. Sometimes, plunging the toilet will work if you usually do not flush tissues down the toilet.

For more difficult clogs, it could be necessary to call a plumber for assistance. Your plumber will use various tools and methods to remove the clog. If you were habitually flushing tissues down the toilet, it is highly recommended you also have your plumbing system sewer lines cleaned to ensure every bit of tissue is removed.

What other items should you never flush in the toilet?

Flushing down disinfectant wipes as toilet paper

Facial tissues are not the only items that you should never flush in the toilet. Other items that are not safe to flush include:

  • Paper Towels
  • Disposable Diapers
  • Dental Floss
  • Baby Wipes
  • Tissue Paper
  • Q-Tips
  • Cat Litter
  • Cleaning Wipes
  • Condoms
  • Cigarette/Cigar Butts
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Medications

What about flushable wipes? Are they safe to flush?

There are numerous brands of flushable wipes on the market. You need to read the packaging to see if it says it is safe to flush. If there is nothing on the package indicating this, do not flush the wipes in the toilet.

Additionally, you should never flush more than two flushable wipes at a time. Otherwise, excessive amounts could also cause a clog.

For help removing toilet clogs and other plumbing problems in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or the Austin Metro area, please feel free to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!

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How Often Should You Get Your Drains Cleaned Professionally?

Posted on June 21st, 2021 by ChristainSon_Admin

handsome plumber with tools box

Do you have drains that seem to drain slower and slower each time you use them? Slowly draining water is a sign a clog is forming somewhere in the drain lines. The clog could form in the “U” trap under the sink, shower, or tub, or it could develop much farther down the line or even in the sewer lines outside your home.

If you ignore it, eventually you will have a clogged drain line. Plunging the drain with a plunger sometimes helps. However, the interior of your plumbing system drain lines could have soap, hair, shampoo, grease, and other icky, gunky stuff that forms and sticks to the pipes.

Eventually, as the buildup accumulates, clogs can reoccur and start to become more frequent. At this point, to fully clean out the drain pipes and eliminate slowly draining and clogged drain problems, a professional drain cleaning service is required.

What is professional drain cleaning?

Professional drain cleaning is a type of service performed by a licensed and experienced plumber. Plumbing professionals have access to a wide range of various plumbing tools and equipment that can help clean the interior of drain lines.

For example, they may use a video camera to inspect the drain lines to determine what type of icky stuff is stuck to the inside of the pipe and find the source of clogs.

When removing clogs and cleaning the drain pipes, your plumber could use hydro-jetting, which uses pressurized water to remove gunk from the inside of the pipes. They could also use an automated drain snake that turns and rotates to remove hair and excessive build-up from inside the pipes. Sometimes, your plumber may use a combination of these and other drain-cleaning methods.

What are some common types of drain problems?

There are several common types of drain problems that can occur around the home as follows:

  • Kitchen Sinks – We put all sorts of stuff down the drain, from food particles to grease, even though it is not good for the plumbing system. These things can cause excess buildup that leads to drainage problems.
  • Showers/Bathtubs – Hair, shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner can make it so you are standing in water whenever you shower or waiting hours for the tub to drain fully.
  • Bathroom Sinks – Shaving gel, toothpaste, and mouthwash can all create gummy deposits inside drain lines leading to slow draining and clogged drains.
  • Floor Drains – Floor drains are found in basements, garages, and laundry rooms. Dust, dirt, and other debris can easily get into the drain lines, even when filter covers are in place, causing drain problems.

Can’t I clean my drains myself using chemical drain cleaners?

Store-bought chemical drain cleaners are a huge business for manufacturers that make these products. They are often labeled as “professional-strength” drain cleaners. However, that just reflects the harshness of the chemicals used in these products.

One concern with these products is that they might say they work with all types of clogs, but they do not. The chemicals are designed to remove only certain clogs, not every single type.

For instance, one product might be good at dissolving hair. So, if you have a hair clog, then it will work. On the other hand, if you have a grease clog, then this product would be ineffective.

Another concern is the harshness of the chemicals on the plumbing system and sewer drain lines. Some of these chemicals could eat through PVC plastic, damage connections, or create other plumbing problems, including water leaks and water damage.

Not to mention, there are environmental concerns about the chemicals used in these products. These chemicals eventually end up at wastewater treatment plants and have to be removed. In some cases, all traces of the chemicals may not be possible, so they end up in water supplies where animals, plants, and humans could be exposed to them.

The best solution is to use some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease and a plunger to attempt to remove a clog. When that doesn’t work, then you should call your plumber and schedule a professional drain cleaning service.

Why is professional drain cleaning important?

Woman Looking At Male Plumber Cleaning Clogged Sink Pipe With Drained Cable In Kitchen

Professional drain cleaning helps ensure your drains are clean and working properly. Regular drain cleaning also helps prevent clogs from forming. Since the interior of the pipes is clean, it takes much longer for icky stuff to start accumulating on the inside of the pipes and creating a clog.

Furthermore, regular drain cleaning saves you money in the long run since you will not have to worry about emergency plumbing calls for clogged, backed up, and overflowing drains. Your home’s plumbing system lines will benefit, too, and last longer before they wear out and need replacing.

What can happen if drains are not cleaned regularly?

As we already mentioned, clogged drains can become more common when your drain lines are not cleaned regularly. You will have to spend more time plunging drains and removing clogs. Eventually, the clogged drains will become so bad you will have to call your plumber for help.

Other side effects of dirty drain lines are foul odors and bad smells. For example, imagine all the food waste that goes down your kitchen sink drain for a moment. Even if you have a garbage disposal, food particles can stick to the inside of the drain lines.

Sometimes, larger pieces get trapped in the “U” trap. As we know, food decays and rots, causing unpleasant odors. Now, imagine what the inside of your drain lines must look like. Think about all the icky stuff that has remained inside over the years since your home was built.

All those liquid soaps, hair gels, shaving creams, hair, and toothpaste can all stick to inside the drain pipes in the bathroom. These things can also start to smell and no longer have the pleasant scent they did when we first used them.

Additionally, mold and mildew can become a problem when drain lines are not cleaned regularly. There are plenty of damp and moist conditions inside the drain pipes, along with whatever icky gross stuff gets trapped inside the pipes, that all help promote the formation and growth of mold and mildew.

If you have noticed black mold growing out of the drain lines or on the sink stoppers, this is a great indication you are well overdue for a professional drain cleaning service.

How do I know how often I should have my drains cleaned professionally?

stream of clean water flows into the drain hole of a white sink

For the most part, it will depend on how much you use the drains in your home and what you put down them. Some people may require drain cleanings every year when they use their drains often.

On the other hand, if you only use a few select drains in the home, then those might need annual drain cleaning maintenance, while the others may only need to be cleaned every few years.

Another way to know when it is time to schedule a drain-cleaning service with your plumber is to watch for these common signs:

  1. Water Draining Slowly
  2. Bad Odors and Foul Smells
  3. Mold and Mildew Problems
  4. Recurring Clogged Drains

Alternatively, if you want to avoid waiting for these signs to start to appear, you could just schedule an annual drain-cleaning service with your plumber. Annual cleanings will keep your drain pipes clean and working correctly. Plus, clogs are less likely to form since the pipes are being kept clean.

If you have never had your drain lines cleaned and are experiencing one or more of the common signs mentioned above, now is the perfect time to have your drain lines cleaned.

To schedule a professional drain cleaning service in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or the Austin Metro area, please feel free to call Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!

7 Plumbing Myths Debunked

Posted on May 26th, 2021 by ChristainSon_Admin

If you’re thinking of throwing lemon peels in garbage disposal drains or using a drain cleaner chemical to unclog pipes, you might want to think again: Some of the most popular home plumbing tips might damage your pipes!

The most common plumbing myths often involve unclogging kitchen drains and sinks. While using a drain cleaner chemical may seem like common sense here, it’s one of the biggest plumbing myths. Though drain cleaner chemicals can definitely dissolve a clog, they also dissolve the surrounding pipe in the process. As a result, unclogging drains with chemical drain cleaners can wear away your pipes long before their time.

Many people also try unclogging their drains using a toilet plunger—another potentially dangerous myth. While a light plunge can safely dislodge small clogs, they’re usually far too powerful to use on kitchen drains and sinks. Remember, the pipe in your bathroom toilet is much bigger and stronger than your sink drains!

The myths don’t stop at clogs, unfortunately: Many people also think that leaky faucets and changing water pressure are normal when they might indicate larger plumbing problems. Though the occasional drip or two is perfectly normal, a constantly dripping or leaking faucet is a problem that should be addressed by an experienced plumber.

What about the other plumbing tips? Does putting lemon peels in garbage disposal drains clean them? Are flushable wipes safe to flush? For sure-fire alternatives to these myths and information on how to choose a plumbing company that can help, check out the infographic below or call Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400.

7 Plumbing Myths Debunked Infographic

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How to Properly Plunge a Toilet

Posted on May 24th, 2021 by ChristainSon_Admin

plumber using plunger in toilet bowl during flushing

Toilet clogs can occur for a variety of reasons. You could use too much toilet paper. Your toddler could flush toys down the toilet. You or someone in your home could be flushing things that are not meant to be flushed. Even your sewer pipe outside your home could be damaged or have tree roots growing through it, causing the clog.

What items should never be flushed down the toilet?

There are several items that should never be flushed down the toilet, including:

  • Disposable Diapers
  • Paper Towels
  • Sanitary Napkins/Tampons
  • Condoms
  • Paint
  • Flour
  • Facial Tissues
  • Cotton Swabs and Cotton Balls
  • Bandaids
  • Medications
  • Cigarette Butts
  • Oils and Grease
  • Kitty Litter
  • Any Type of Hardening Materials (i.e. Plaster, Caulk, etc.)
  • Chewing Gum
  • Baby Wipes
  • Contact Lenses

These types of items can cause toilet clogs and even damage your home’s plumbing.

Fortunately, if you are like most homeowners, you have a plunger handy to help deal with toilet clogs by using these simple steps:

Step #1: Use the right type of plunger.

There are two different types of plungers—a standard plunger that is round, and a flange plunger that has a rounded extension on the end. To unclog a toilet easier, you need a plunger with a flange. A standard plunger can also be used but may not be as effective at removing more difficult clogs.

Step #2: Make sure there is water in the toilet bowl.

You need water in the toilet bowl. If the bowl is low in water, remove the back cover from the toilet tank and carefully pull up on the flapper to allow a small amount of water to fill the bowl. You want to avoid flushing the toilet because it could overflow or fill the bowl up with too much water.

Step #3: Insert the flange into the drain opening in the bowl.

male plumber using plunger and cleaning toilet in bathroom

To help ensure you get the most pressure when plunging, you need to make sure the flange is in the drain opening. The rounded base of the plunger should also fit snugly over the drain opening.

Step #4: Start slowly before more forceful plunges.

For the first plunge compression you do not need to be very forceful. You want to release the air from inside the plunger. If you use a forceful plunge, the air could cause water and any icky stuff in the bowl to spray upward and out of the toilet bowl.

Step #5: Alternate between forceful and gentler plunges.

Alternate the amount of force you use after releasing the air from inside the plunger. Doing so helps loosen the clog faster.

Step #6: Flush the toilet once the clog is removed.

You will want to verify the clog has been cleared and water will drain away correctly. Make sure to leave the plunger in the bowl when you flush it in case it is still partially clogged. This way, you can start plunging right away, taking advantage of the force of the water to help remove the clog.

What if the toilet clog remains after using a toilet plunger?

For more difficult clogs, there are several different things you can try to do before you call a plumber, including:

  • Put a gallon or two of water in a pot and bring it to a boil on your stove. Once it is at a rolling boil, remove it from the stove and carefully carry it into the bathroom. Slowly pour the boiling hot water down the toilet drain opening. The boiling water can help loosen the clog.
  • Pour equal amounts of baking soda and vinegar into the toilet drain. Make sure to add the baking soda first. When the vinegar comes into contact with the baking soda, it creates a natural chemical reaction to help unclog the toilet.

Immediately after trying either one of these, make sure to plunge the toilet to help get the hot water or baking soda and vinegar mixture farther down into the drain line where the clog is located.

Is it okay to use chemical store-bought clog removers?

Chemical store-bought clog removers may sound enticing. However, what many people do not know is that they are only formulated for specific types of clogs. The harsh chemicals are also not safe for all types of plumbing and drain lines.

If you use chemical clog removers, you could make the problem worse. If the product does not work, now you have a drain line sitting full of harsh chemicals doing who-knows-what to your drain line.

Plunging the toilet and using the two “natural” methods mentioned above are your best bets to unclogging a toilet.

What if I still have a clogged toilet?

Plumber installing toilet in restroom

If the toilet clog is still present, now is the time to call a plumber for assistance. Your plumber has access to special tools and equipment like a sewer camera and toilet auger they can use to pinpoint the location of the clog and remove it for good.

For more severe clogs, your plumber may even need to turn off the water supply and remove the toilet. For example, your toddler might have flushed crayons or other toys down the toilet drain.

In other cases, the source of the clog could be in the sewer line in your yard. If it is collapsed or tree roots have grown through the sewer line, no amount of plunging will fix this type of clog.

As you can see, how to properly plunge a toilet is not that difficult or hard to do when using the steps we shared.

For difficult toilet clogs, drain clogs, and other plumbing problems in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, and the Austin Metro area, please feel free to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!

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How Often Should You Service Your HVAC?

Posted on May 18th, 2021 by ChristainSon_Admin

Air Conditioning Technician and A part of preparing to install new air conditioner

Most homes have heating and air conditioning systems installed. These might be a split system where one part is the furnace and the other part the central air conditioner. They could be a packaged system that functions as an air conditioner in the summer and a heating system in the winter.

Since you essentially have two different systems for heating and cooling, regardless of the type of HVAC system you have installed, ideally you want to service your system twice a year to ensure each part of the system is operating optimally.

What happens if you do not service your system?

Several things can happen when you do not get regular maintenance. Most heating and air conditioning systems are designed to last about 15 years or so. Without maintenance, you are potentially putting more wear and tear on your system, which shortens its overall lifespan.

As your system works hard to heat or cool your home, it also starts using more energy to do so. Systems that are not maintained quickly become less efficient. Your heating or cooling energy costs and utility bills will gradually increase. You will also notice the system is running longer to maintain your ideal indoor air temperatures.

Most importantly, you are taking a risk that your heating system or air conditioner is not going to break down unexpectedly. The longer your system goes without maintenance, the more likely something will go wrong, so it is not a matter of if, but when, which could include:

  • System Parts Overheating – Many parts inside the system need regular lubrication to keep working correctly and prevent excess friction that can lead to overheating.
  • Clogged Air Vents – Dust and dirt can clog air vents and cause the system to work harder. A lack of sufficient airflow can also cause the system to overheat and fail prematurely.
  • Dirty Condensation Coils – These coils are on your AC unit and help to remove the hot air from your home and provide it with cold air. These get dirty. When they are, they cannot function properly.
  • Clogged Drain Lines – There is a drain line on AC units that allows condensation to drain away. When the line clogs, it can cause it to back up inside the system, increasing risks of electrical problems or it seeping into your home, causing water damage.
  • Loose Electrical Connections – Your heating unit and cooling unit are working pieces of machinery that vibrate. Over time, electrical connections can come loose. When they do, they can cause your system to malfunction, short out, or overload major components.

When is the best time to schedule HVAC maintenance?

The best time to schedule maintenance for your HVAC unit is in the spring for your air conditioner and the fall for your heating unit. You want to make sure your AC will be ready to cool your home, come the hot Texas summers, so spring is a great time since HVAC technicians are not as busy as they are in summer.

In the fall, you want to make sure your heating system is ready to go once those colder winter temperatures roll in and you need to switch your heat on. Again, HVAC technicians are typically not that busy in the fall but are very busy once cold weather arrives.

What is done during HVAC system maintenance?

Technician is checking air conditioner ,measuring equipment for filling air conditioners

In the spring, your HVAC technician will be focusing primarily on your air conditioning unit and will perform the following tasks:

  • Overall Inspection of the AC Unit
  • Testing the Condenser
  • Inspecting and Cleaning the Condensing Coils and Evaporator Coils
  • Inspecting the Electrical Wiring
  • Cleaning the Drain Line
  • Testing the Refrigerant Levels
  • Testing the System Operating Pressures
  • Testing the Start-Up and Cycle Times
  • Checking the Air Filter

If the fall, your HVAC professional will focus on your heating unit and perform the following tasks:

  • Overall Inspection of the Heating Unit
  • Inspecting and Testing the Heat Exchanger, Burner Assembly, Heat Pump, etc.
  • Testing the Start-Up and Cycle Times
  • Inspecting the Electrical Wiring
  • Cleaning the Heat Exchange, Burner Assembly, etc.
  • Checking the Air Filter
  • Testing the Backup Heating Source on Heat Pumps
  • Testing the Piping and Gas Lines on Gas Systems

Please keep in mind that the system maintenance performed can and does vary based on the type of heating and air conditioning system you have. With regular preventative maintenance, your HVAC system will last longer, operate more efficiently, and be less prone to breakdowns.

For further information about HVAC maintenance and maintenance plans or to schedule maintenance service for your system in San Antonio, Temple, New Braunfels, or the Austin Metro area, please feel free to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing by calling 512-246-5400 today!

How Long Do HVAC Systems Last?

Posted on April 19th, 2021 by ChristainSon_Admin

young woman relaxing under air conditioner and holding remote control

HVAC systems can consist of different configurations—packaged systems, split systems, heat pumps, and window units. The average lifespan for most systems is between 15 to 20 years.

This is not to say that a system could fail before 15 years or that you could have a system that lasts more than 20 years. Some people have older oil furnaces and boilers that are 40 years old or older that still work perfectly fine to heat their homes.

HVAC System Lifespan Factors

It is essential that you understand the different factors that affect the lifespan of heating and cooling systems, including:

  1. Climate Change – The climate has changed over the past 30 years or so. We have hotter summers and colder winters. With these changes, it means your HVAC system is running more often to keep your home cold in summer and warm in winter.
  2. How Often the System Is Used – Some people are lucky enough to not need heating or cooling other than a few months each year. Of course, this means their air conditioners and furnaces are going to last longer. For the rest of us that rely on our air conditioners and furnaces almost year-round, our systems will have a shorter lifespan.
  3. How Energy-Efficient Your Home Is – If your home is not well insulated or you have windows without thermal resistance, your HVAC system will run more frequently to maintain your preferred indoor temperature. If you have a well-insulated home and thermal-resistant windows, your HVAC system does not have to run as often, so it will last longer.
  4. How Often HVAC Maintenance Is Performed – Systems that receive regular maintenance, tune-ups, and repairs tend to last longer than systems that are not given proper maintenance.
  5. Where You Live – The location of your home will affect the lifespan of your heating and cooling system. People that live in coastal areas have to deal with the corrosive effects of saltwater that causes their air conditioners to rust and wear out faster compared to someone living farther inland.

How to Extend the Life of Your HVAC System

Hvac technician inspecting an air conditioner

Whether you recently had a new HVAC system installed or have an older heating and cooling system, there are several things you can do to extend the life of your HVAC system.

  • Schedule Regular Maintenance – Have an HVAC professional service your system twice a year—once in the spring and once in the fall. These intervals ensure your air conditioning is ready for summer cooling and your furnace is ready for winter heating.
  • Replace Worn Out Parts and Components – Normal wear and tear occur as your HVAC system ages. By sticking to a proper maintenance schedule, your service technician notices when parts and components need to be replaced. Replacing them before they fail not only avoids emergency repairs but also extends the system’s life.
  • Replace Your Air Filter Frequently – The air filter should be changed every 30 to 90 days. It is a good idea to inspect the air filter If it looks dirty, replace it, even if the manufacturer says the filter should last longer. Clogged and dirty filters strain your HVAC system and shorten its lifespan.
  • Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient – There are different home improvements you can make like adding more insulation and upgrading to thermal-resistant windows to improve the energy efficiency of your home. These improvements not only will lower your energy bills but extend the life of your HVAC system.
  • Utilize Landscaping Features – Trees and shrubs should be used to help shade windows that receive a lot of direct sunlight. You should keep trees, shrubs, and other plants at least five feet away from the outdoor AC unit. It also helps to trim back trees that overhang the home and AC unit.
  • Have a Smart Thermostat Installed – Have your HVAC professional install a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats are designed to help learn your heating and cooling habits. They can also be programmed to automatically adjust the thermostat when you are away from home and turn it back down when you are at home to save energy since your system doesn’t run as often.
  • Have Your AC Unit Cleaned Annually – Dust, dirt, and other debris can get into the heat exchanger coils (cooling coils) and vents on the outdoor unit. Having it cleaned by your AC technician every year before you start using your air conditioner will help extend its life.
  • Turn on Your Ceiling Fans – If your home has ceiling fans, use them regularly to help circulate heated air or cooled air in your home. Remember to adjust the settings seasonally so the blades rotate in the right direction.

When to Replace Your Heating and Cooling System

There are several things to consider when your heating and cooling system is older, to decide when is the best time to replace it.

  • How has the system been performing? Is your system able to keep your home cooled and heated easily? If you notice the system is struggling to keep up, it could be that it is wearing out and needs to be replaced.
  • How much are your energy bills? If you notice your energy bills are increasing, this is common when an HVAC system is nearing the end of its useful life.
  • How often are you having to get the system repaired? As the system ages, you will start to notice that parts and components wear out and need to be replaced. If your system is breaking down frequently or the list of replacement parts and components is increasing at each service interval, it might be a better idea to invest in a new system.
  • Are the repair costs adding up to at least 50% of the cost of a new system? If your repair costs are creeping up and are running at around 50% of the cost of a new system, in the long run it would be better to have your HVAC professional install a new HVAC system.

As you can see, “How long do HVAC systems last?” depends on various factors and things you can do to help extend the life of your heating and cooling system, such as regular maintenance.

If you are not sure whether your HVAC system needs to be serviced or replaced, the best place to start is with an inspection performed by one of our experienced HVAC professionals. After the inspection, your technician will make recommendations based on what your system requires, provide you with a free quote, and advise you when replacement might be the better option.

To schedule an inspection of your HVAC system in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or the Austin Metro Area, please feel free to call Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!

What to Look For in a Plumber

Posted on April 1st, 2021 by ChristainSon_Admin

How do you choose the best plumber for your home or business? When a plumbing emergency arises, you will want the best plumber for the job, not just the nearest plumber or a local handyman. There are many things to check and questions to ask before you hire a professional plumber, which can be hard to remember when water is puddling or spraying all over your bathroom.

This resource is a quick reference to have handy before a plumbing emergency strikes. It will help to ensure the professional plumber you choose is licensed, insured, and fully qualified to fix your problem. For example, did you know that in Texas there are four different types of plumbers’ licenses? Or that if a bad plumbing repair damages your neighbor’s property, choosing a fully insured plumber would protect you?

The checklist below also highlights the advantages of plumbers who use modern technology to dispatch and manage their businesses, as well as the importance of customer reviews and online satisfaction ratings. Having one of the best local plumbers as a trusted part of your home maintenance team will protect your property and your peace of mind far into the future.

Things to Look For When Choosing a Plumber Infographic


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