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The Top 10 Reasons for an Increasing Water Bill

Posted on January 27th, 2020 by ChristainSon_Admin

There can be all sorts of reasons why your water bill increased. Before you panic, it is a good idea to take a look at your historical water usage. You can do this by reviewing your bills for the past 12 to 18 months. Start by looking to see if you used a similar amount of water during the same billing cycle last year.

Quite often, most people are surprised to see how their water usage fluctuates during different times of the year. For example, in the summer months, your water bill could be more if you water your yard frequently, have a swimming pool to fill up, spend more time washing your car, and so on.

After checking out the historical usage, if you noticed a pattern where your water bill is increasing every month, then you may have some type of plumbing problem that needs to be addressed and fixed. Some plumbing problems may be quick and easy to fix on your own while others could require help from professional plumbing service technicians.

plumber tightening screws in pipe using screwdriver

1. Leaking Water Heater

If you have a leaking water heater, your water bill will increase. Most people don’t think to check their water heater when they discover their water usage has been increasing month-over-month. With tank-type water heaters, look around the base of the water heater for signs of leaks.

The drain pan underneath the heater may show signs of dampness and water that could range from standing water if the drain is clogged to water droplets if the water is draining down the overflow drain correctly. Rust around the base of the heater could also be an indication of a slow leak.

2. Leaking Toilet

A leaking toilet can be difficult to diagnose, depending on where the leak is. If the flapper inside the tank has worn out, the leak is easier to detect. You will hear water filling inside the toilet tank periodically. You might notice running water inside the toilet bowl. Fixing a worn-out flapper is not too difficult.

Another type of toilet leak is when it is coming from around the base of the tank. If the water is flowing out onto the bathroom floor, all that may be necessary to stop it is to tighten up the bolts on the toilet base.

However, if the leak is coming from underneath the toilet bowl, the wax ring may have broken and is no longer sealed. To fix this type of leak, you will need to remove the toilet from the floor and install a new wax ring. This is one job where people typically call in their bathroom plumber for help.

3. Leaking Faucets and Fixtures

Faucets and fixtures do wear out from continued use. There are washers, seals, and other moving parts inside that eventually can cause leaks. One of the most common leaks is water dripping into the sink, tub, or shower. This leak is easy to fix by either replacing the internal hardware on the fixture or installing a brand new fixture instead.

Another type of faucet leak is when it is coming from the plumbing lines that connect to the fixture. If you notice water underneath kitchen or bathroom sinks, check and verify the water is not leaking where the hot and cold water lines connect to the faucet. If it is, try tightening it to see if this fixes the problem.

4. Leaking Drain Lines

Drainpipes can develop leaks for various reasons. The pipe connections can become loose, cracks can develop from age, and so on. Drainpipe leaks, if the pipe is underneath the sink and accessible, can be a quick fix by simply installing a new section of drainpipe. For drains that are hard to access, like underneath the bathtub or shower, you will probably want to call a bathroom plumbing company for help.

Plumber Repairing Sink With Adjustable Wrench

5. Incoming Water Supply Line Leak

The primary water supply line could develop leaks. If the leak is before the water meter, you will not see an increase in your water usage. However, if the leak is on the output side of the water meter, then you will notice an increase in water usage.

Some common signals of incoming water supply line leaks include:

  • Wet Grass: If you notice there is one specific section of grass that is always wet, you could have a water supply line. This symptom is also common with sewer line leaks.
  • Soft, Muddy Spots: Another symptom is if you step down and the ground is soft and muddy. This is also another common symptom that could indicate a sewer line leak.
  • Water Stains: Depending on where your water meter is installed, you may notice water stains in its general location. For example, if your water meter is in your garage, you may notice staining on the concrete garage floor slab or on the sides of walls where the water is plumbed into the home.

6. Leaking Water, Sewer, and Drain Pipes

If you have a water supply line or sewer and drain pipe leak that is hidden behind drywall, it may not become evident right away. The only indication you may have a leak in a water supply line is the increased water usage on your water bill. To find out, an easy test is to shut off all water in the house, read your water meter, wait a few hours, and check your water meter. If it has moved, then you have a leak.

For sewer and drain pipe leaks, you might hear the sound of dripping water. You could discover patches of wetness under the crawlspace or in your basement. You might notice funky smells too. Eventually, you will realize there is a leak when you notice water staining on the ceiling or walls in your home.

7. New Water-Intensive Equipment

When there are no leaks to be found in your home, the increase in water usage could be from new water-intensive equipment you recently installed. For example, did you just have your new in-ground pool filled? A new sprinkler system could also result in higher water bills.

8. Non-Water Conserving Appliances

If you recently purchased new appliances but did not verify they had water-conserving features like your old appliances, you will notice your water bill increase. Always take the time to verify new appliances have water-conserving features, as well as energy-saving ones to keep water bills and energy bills from increasing.

Top view inside a Top Loading Washing Machine

9. Developing New Bad Habits That Waste Water

You might think that making some changes to your water usage habits would be good, but ultimately they might actually be bad. For example, washing dishes by hand wastes more water than using your dishwasher.

Replacing your front-load washing machine with a top-load model is another mistake that leads to increased water bills since top-load machines use double to triple the amount of water per load of laundry.

Two other bad habits that wastewater are running the dishwasher when it is not full and washing partial loads of laundry. It is better to wait until the dishwasher is full and you have a full load of laundry if you want to save water.

10. Rodents Have Moved into Your Home

Rats, mice, and other rodents can be attracted to PEX and other types of water supply, drain, and sewer lines. They like to chew on the hard plastic materials. Eventually, they can chew through the pipe and create a leak in your home.

If you are hearing strange sounds in your walls, ceiling, and attic or under the flooring, you may have unwanted guests in your home. It would be a good idea to have your pest control expert do an inspection. Once the rodents are removed, you should schedule a leak detection service with your plumber to check for leaks the rodents may have created.

Contact Christianson

As seen above, there can be all sorts of reasons why your water usage and water bills are increasing. If you notice your bills are increasing, it is vital to determine the cause to avoid extensive water damage to your home.

If you need help finding leaks, pinpointing leaks, or fixing leaking water heaters, faucets, fixtures, supply lines, drain pipes, and sewer lines, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Temple, and the Austin Metro Area by calling 512-246-5400 today!


Tips from Your 24-Hour Plumber on Protecting Your Home’s Plumbing from Pets

Posted on January 24th, 2020 by ChristainSon_Admin

 

Pet owners love their pets, and many treat them like a member of the family. Some cats and dogs will want to get into the shower or tub with you. Some cats also like playing with water as it comes out of the faucet. Both cats and dogs can drink water out of sinks and toilets if given the opportunity.

Whether your pet loves or hates water, there are several pet-proof plumbing tips you need to know to help keep your pet and your plumbing safe.

Cute red cat lies in the washbasin

Tip #1: Install a childproof lock to the toilet bowl lid.

One of the biggest mistakes pet owners make is allowing their pets to drink water out of the toilet. To put this in perspective, ask yourself if you would drink the water out of the toilet. There can be bacteria, germs, and human waste left in the bowl that your pet is ingesting. Not to mention, chemical residues from cleaning products.

Tip #2: Never flush kitty litter or cat waste down the toilet.

It might seem like a good idea when scooping out the litter box to simply toss the kitty waste into the toilet and flush it away. Even if the litter brand says it is flushable, it can still wreak havoc on your plumbing. Kitty litter is designed to absorb moisture.

When it absorbs too much moisture, it becomes clay-like. This clay-like substance can stick to the interior of drainpipes. Eventually, the litter can build up and cause clogs. It is better to recycle plastic grocery store sacks for disposing of cat waste and tossing it into the trash.

Tip #3: Use drain screens in the tub and shower to catch hair.

To prevent the excess pet hair your cat or dog sheds from going down the drain when they get into the tub or shower, make sure you are using drain screens. The screens catch the excess hair so you can remove it and toss it into the trash. If you don’t use drain screens and let all that hair go down the drain, eventually you will end up with a clog and need to call a 24-hour plumber for help.

A little dog taking a bubble bath with his paws up on the tub

Tip #4: Protect exposed pipes from your pets.

PEX and plastic pipes can become your pet’s favorite chew toy if they can easily access them. If they can get under sink cabinets or access pipes in the crawl space or basement, you need to make sure they are covered. There are different types of pipe wraps you can use that will deter your pet from chewing on them.

Tip #5: Establish outdoor play areas away from underground plumbing lines.

Pets like to dig, especially dogs. Some dogs will start digging a hole and continue digging it deeper and deeper. The last thing you need is for your pet to uncover your underground plumbing lines and accidentally break the water supply or sewer line.

By using these useful plumbing and pet tips, you can avoid costly plumbing repairs later. If you need help wrapping exposed pipes or pet-proofing plumbing, please feel free to call Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!

We have locations in San Antonio, Austin Metro, New Braunfels, and Temple, and we offer 24-hour plumbing service for emergencies.

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How to Protect Your Pipes in the Winter

Posted on January 9th, 2020 by ChristainSon_Admin

Winter can be a bad time for your plumbing, especially your pipes. It can cause them to freeze and burst and force you to spend a lot of time and money to get them fixed. Fortunately, there are several ways to protect your pipes in the winter.

Protecting your pipes in the winter starts well before winter arrives. Make sure your pipes are insulated, especially in attics, basements, and crawl spaces. You should also use some caulk to fix any cracks in walls that pipes are near, to make sure the air around them doesn’t get too cold.

Once winter has come, make sure your home’s temperature is above 55˚ Fahrenheit. You’ll also want to make sure all that warm air is actually flowing through your house, so you might want to run an oscillating fan as well. You can also let your faucets trickle in order to keep some hot-and-cold running water moving continuously through your plumbing system, making it harder for the water to freeze.

Protecting your pipes in the wintertime requires some preparation and vigilance, but it can save you from the hassle of dealing with frozen or burst pipes. To find out more, read the infographic below.

How to Protect Your Pipes in the Winter Infographic

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Flushable Wipes and Bathroom Plumbing: What You Need to Know

Posted on December 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Flushable wipes are all the rage when it comes to freshening up after using the bathroom. Sadly, many people toss these wipes into the toilet and flush them away. Yet, flushable wipes are not as friendly to your bathroom plumbing and sewer lines as you might think. Eventually, the wipes can build up in the plumbing lines and sewer lines, create a clog, and require a call to a 24-hour plumbing service.

Baby Wipes vs. Freshening Wipes

man throwing a wet wipe to the toilet

If you walk down the diaper and paper products aisle at your grocery store or big-box retailer, you will notice there are several options of baby wipes and freshening wipes. There are some key differences between the two products.

Baby wipes were never meant to be flushed down the toilet. Rather, they were meant to be used to clean up your baby and then tossed in the trash, along with the disposable diaper. Yet, some brands now say they are “flushable” and safe for plumbing. However, they are not. They are thicker than regular freshening wipes.

Most freshening wipes are marketed as “flushable,” “septic safe,” and “sewer system safe.” While they are thinner than baby wipes, they do not break down as fast as toilet paper. It can take years for them to start to degrade. Since they can clog up plumbing like baby wipes, they should not be flushed down the toilet either.

How Baby Wipes and Freshening Wipes Clog Bathroom Plumbing

You might be thinking that wipes are just small pieces of paper not much bigger than several sheets of toilet paper, so how could they possibly clog bathroom plumbing and sewer lines? When you flush the toilet, the toilet paper starts breaking down right away and falling apart into smaller pieces.

Plumber unclogging a toilet with manual auger

Wipes, on the other hand, remain as one solid piece. The sheets can get caught on elbows inside the plumbing and not fully move down the sewer line to your septic tank or city sewer system. Over time, the wipes start piling up until they create a big clog and cause your entire sewer drainage system to back up.

Even if the wipes make it to your septic tank or city sewer system, they can still cause problems. In septic tanks, they can block greywater drain lines and quickly fill up the septic tank, requiring more frequent service.

In city sewer lines, the wipes can block screens, find their way into pump motors, and cause all sorts of damage. While most people don’t think about the impacts after the wipes have left their home, the effects can result in higher city property taxes, wastewater bills, and so on.

How to Prevent Bathroom Plumbing Clogs from Wipes

The best solution is not to flush wipes down the toilet. Get a diaper pail and set it next to the toilet. Toss your baby wipes and freshening wipes into the pail. Remove and tie up the liner and put it into your regular trash.

If you are guilty of flushing wipes down the toilet, you will want to call a 24-hour plumber for a sewer drain cleaning service to remove any wipes from the sewer drain lines. The process to remove wipes can take several hours, depending on the number of wipes you and your family have flushed down the toilet.

For sewer drain cleaning, clogged toilets, and other bathroom plumbing problems, please feel free to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Temple, or the Austin Metro area by calling 512-246-5400 today!

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Have a Clogged Drain? Learn How to Unclog It and When to Call a Professional

Posted on December 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Clogged and slow-draining drains can be an annoyance because water is not going down the drain as it should. When it does finally drain away, it leaves soap, hair, toothpaste, and other unwanted grime. Before you pick up the phone and call a professional plumber, there are a few things you can try at home to see if you can unclog the drain yourself.

Sometimes the problem may not be a clogged drain but, rather, an air problem. There are often air vents on top of plumbing pipes next to your sinks. If the airflow is restricted and cannot move into the pipe as water goes down the drain, it can cause drains to drain slower and appear to be clogged.

Verify there is nothing around the air vent that would prohibit the airflow. If the vent is not blocked, then the problem is probably a clogged drain. Before you run out to your local retailer to by an off-the-shelf clog and drain-cleaning liquid, think again.

Every one of these products contains harsh chemicals that are not good for your home’s plumbing lines. If you ask any professional plumber, they will tell you the same thing: Don’t use store-bought liquid clog and drain cleaners. Besides potentially damaging your pipes, these products also do not address every type of clog.

Instead, you will want to gather up some essential plumbing tools to try to unclog the drain yourself, including:

  • Plunger
  • Rags
  • Plumber’s Wrench
  • Drain Snake
  • Bucket
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar

Once you have everything you need, you are ready to attempt to remove the clog from the sink.

couple dealing with a blocked sink with a plunger

Step 1: Plunge the Sink

You will want to start by partially filling the sink with hot water if there is no standing water already in the sink. While you are waiting for the sink to fill, take your rag and plug the overflow opening at the top back of the sink.

For kitchen sinks, take the drain stopper and place it over the side you are not plunging. If there is a sink strainer over the drain, remove it before you start plunging.

Hold the plunger over the sink with one hand and, firmly holding the rag or drain stopper with the other, start plunging. You may want to ask someone to hold the rag or drain stopper for you so you can use both hands to plunge.

Start plunging the sink. You want to use quick up-and-down plunging motions to try to force the clog out. Check to see if the clogged drain has been cleared after about six to eight plunges. If not, continue plunging and try again.

Once the clog has been freed, remove the rag or drain stopper. Close the drain on the sink you just unclogged and fill it half-full of hot water, and then open the drain.

The water should drain away as normal. If it doesn’t, there could still be residue left on the pipes, which means the clog will eventually return.

Step 2: Remove the Drain Trap

If you have tried plunging and the clogged drain remains, your next step is to check the drain trap. There could be a big glob of hair, soap scum, grease, and other icky stuff that has blocked the drain.

  1. Place the bucket under the drain trap, which is the “U” shaped pipe under the sink.
  2. If there is standing water in the sink above, it is a good idea to close the drain before removing the drain trap so you don’t have to worry about the excess water overfilling the bucket.
  3. Use the plumber’s wrench to loosen the connectors on both ends of the drain trap.
  4. Unscrew both connectors by hand until the drain trap is no longer connected to the drain pipes. Be prepared for water to drain in the bucket.
  5. Look inside the drain trap. Pull out any hair and other gunk from the drain trap.

hand of plumber holding joints and connections of basin

  1. Go to a sink where you can work, and use a rag to clean inside the pipe. It is safe to use grease-cutting dish soap.
  2. Once the drain trap has been cleaned, reattach it to the bottom of the sink.
  3. Open the drain and see if the water drains away.

If not, try plunging once more. If you still have a clogged drain, the clog is probably farther down the drain line, so you can try the next step before you call your plumber for drain-cleaning service.

Step 3: Run a Drain Snake Down the Drain

Drain snakes come in all different sizes. There are short ones that are only a few feet long for removing hair, soap, and other stuff from tub and shower drains. Then there are longer ones that are 12 to 15 feet or longer, for about $10 for a manual one from your local home improvement store.

You will want to get someone to help you so they can slowly feed the drain snake as you are cranking the handle. You want to slowly crank and feed the snake down the drain line.

Before you get started, it is recommended to remove the drain trap from the bottom of the sink and feed the drain snake into the drain line so you don’t have to worry about trying to get it around the “U” part of the sink drain pipe.

Make sure you have a bucket handy, too, for the gunk and debris that you will be pulling out of the drain. Keep cranking and feeding the drain snake down the pipe. You will be able to tell when you hit curves and elbows.

You will also be able to tell when you hit the clog because it will become much more difficult to crank and feed the drain snake down the drain. At this point, you have a few different options:

  1. Keep cranking as best as you can to get the auger head of the drain snake embedded into the clog. Pull the drain snake back up the drain and remove the gunk in the bucket. Repeat the process until the clog is removed and has been broken up.
  2. Keep cranking until you can feel the clog break up and cranking becomes easier again.

Once the clog has been removed, make sure to run hot water down the drain line to remove any debris that you couldn’t remove with the drain snake.

Plumber cleaning  drain in bathroom with cable

Step 4: Clean the Drain Pipes

Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain. Next, pour ½ cup of vinegar down the drain. Quickly close the drain to keep the bubbling from coming up the sink. For bathroom sinks, take a rag and plug up the overflow opening.

Allow the mixture to remain in the drain for about an hour. Open the drain and pour a gallon of hot water down the drain. This eco-friendly chemical reaction is safe for your plumbing lines and helps remove gunk and debris.

Baking soda and vinegar can also be used on clogged drains to help loosen difficult clogs so you can plunge them away.

After trying one or more of the above steps, if the clogged drain remains, it is time to call your local plumber for drain service.

Do I Still Need to Call a Plumber if I Removed the Clog Myself?

Removing the clog yourself is a temporary solution in many cases. Plungers and manual crank drain snakes are not a long-term solution because the clog is likely to redevelop gradually and become a problem again.

The reason for this is that neither tool fully removes all the gunk and debris from inside the drain lines. Even using baking soda and vinegar to clean the pipes won’t get rid of everything.

If the clog keeps returning, and you are getting tired of having to remove it again and again, then you will want to call your plumber for a long-term solution and professional drain-cleaning service.

Your plumber has access to motorized and more powerful drain snakes to clean drain pipes and remove clogs. They also have access to drain cameras, hydro-jetters, and other such equipment that makes pinpointing and removing the clog faster and easier.

For professional drain cleaning and related plumbing and drain services in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Temple, and the Austin Metro Area, please feel free to call Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!


How to Detect Water Leaks Quickly to Avoid Costly Water Damage

Posted on November 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Finding water leaks in kitchen and bathroom plumbing and having them repaired are essential to avoid costly water damage repairs. There are several different leak tests you can perform yourself before tearing out walls or calling your plumber for assistance.

Most water leaks will occur either in the kitchen or bathroom. However, depending on the age of the home and type of plumbing, some leaks can be more difficult to find if they occur within the walls. Yet, detecting leaking pipes inside walls is also not difficult if you know what to do.

Shower Plumbing Leaks

To inspect and test for shower plumbing leaks, there are several tests you can perform. Start by turning on the shower or tub faucet. Look for leaks around the showerhead where it connects to the plumbing line. Check for leaks coming from around the fixture.

Next, if you have shower doors on your shower or tub, step inside and shut the doors. Pour a small amount of water on the doors, just enough so it runs down. Get out and inspect around the bottom of the door to see if it leaked out. If it did, then the caulking needs to be replaced.

Leakage of water from a shower cabin with glass wall

Plug the drain and fill the shower base or tub with about two inches of water. Take a washable marker and make a line at the top of the water level. Wait for two to three hours and check to see if the water level went down. If it did, there is a leak and the shower pan or tub needs replacing.

You should also look for missing grout and cracked tiles on the walls inside the shower and tub. If you find any, have the cracked tiles and grout replaced so the wall is properly sealed.

Toilet Leaks

It is easy to tell if water is leaking from the toilet tank because there will be water on the floor or the pipe coming from the intake line. The other place to check for leaks is around the base of the toilet if there are water stains you notice. If you have water staining that keeps returning, it means the wax ring or flange needs to be replaced.

Kitchen and Bathroom Sink Leaks

Open up the cabinets and look at the cabinet base for water stains. If you notice any, there is a leak. Check the water supply lines to see if they are wet. Plug the sink and fill it up with some water. Wait to see if it is dripping out and under the cabinet. Take a sponge and squeeze out water around the rim of the sink and around the faucet to check to see if the rim or faucet needs resealing.

Plumbing Pipe Leaks

Man notices the water meter

Look for water stains on the ceiling and walls in your home. Water staining indicates a leak that could be coming from your plumbing pipes or the roof. If there are plumbing lines in that location, you will need to narrow it down further using the next test.

Another sure-fire way to tell if you have a leak is making sure all water is shut off in the home. Go read your water meter and write down the numbers. Wait four to six hours and go check the water meter. If it has moved even the slightest, it means there is a plumbing leak.

Once you know you have a water leak, you may need help finding its location. Your plumber has special equipment they can use to pinpoint the leak without having to tear out walls or the ceiling.

For help finding water leaks and leak repairs in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Temple, or the Austin Metro Area, please feel free to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!

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Plumbing Repair 101: Why Won’t My Washing Machine Work?

Posted on November 13th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

There are all sorts of reasons your washing machine is not working. To determine the culprit and whether your washing machine needs plumbing repair service, you need to be able to do some basic troubleshooting on your own. Doing some of these tests and checks is not that difficult, and most do not require any tools or having to move the washer!

If you feel these tests and checks are beyond your abilities, don’t worry. Your plumbing repair technician will gladly do them for you when you schedule a washing machine repair service.

Washing Machine Basics

working man plumber repairs  washing machine in laundry

All washing machines, whether you have a top-load, front-load, or a washer and dryer combo, perform the same general wash functions during a wash cycle:

  • Fill with Water
  • Wash
  • Drain
  • Spin
  • Fill with Water
  • Rinse
  • Drain
  • Spin

There may be some other functions like the pre-wash cycle or a soak cycle, depending on the cycle selected. Problems can occur before, during, or after the wash cycle. If you notice a problem, you will want to call and schedule washing machine plumbing services. You should never ignore it, as it can lead to bigger and more costly problems.

The Washing Machine Has No Power

Power problems are easy to troubleshoot. First, check to make sure the washing machine is plugged into the outlet. If it is, unplug it and plug it back in. If there is still no power and you have a GFCI outlet—the one with the built-in breaker switch—make sure the switch does not need resetting.

If there is still no power, go to your breaker box and check the breaker for the washing machine. Even if it is not blown, reset it and then go check to see if the washer has power. If it still doesn’t, then that could mean the power cord is not connected correctly to the machine, the power cord is bad, or there is no power coming from the outlet.

You could plug a radio or other device into the outlet to see if the outlet is working, to help narrow it down further. If the outlet is not working, then call your electrician. If the outlet is working, call your washer and dryer plumbing technician for help.

The Washing Machine Has Power but Doesn’t Fill with Water

There are a few different problems that could cause the washer to not fill with water. Some models require the lid to be closed before the water will start filling. Front-load models will require the door to lock before it will fill with water.

Close the lid or make sure the door is closed tightly. If the washer still won’t fill, you could have a faulty lid switch or door-locking switch that needs to be replaced.

Another reason the washer won’t fill with water is if the water intake lines are kinked or clogged. Check for kinks in the hoses. If there are none, if you are using cold water, try the hot water setting to see if water fills or vice versa. If water fills for hot or cold water, the other line is clogged and the hose needs to be replaced.

  • Washing Machine Supply Hose Tip: Replace your washing machine supply line hoses every five years to avoid them bursting and exploding during a wash cycle and flooding your laundry room.

The Washing Machine Fills with Water and Stops

If the washing machine is filling with water and stops, it could mean several different things. The washing machine’s “brain” could need replacing. The “brain” is the electronic and computer board that tells the washing machine what to do next. If it is damaged, it can prevent the machine from going beyond the fill function.

To determine if it is the “brain” or something else, put the washer on the “Drain and Spin” cycle. If the water pumps out and the washer spins, it means the “brain” is working. Then the problem is something to do with the agitator on the machine.

The belt could also be just loose enough that it is not able to turn the drum because it is too heavy with the clothes and water and needs to be tightened. If the water drains but it does not spin, then the problem could be the washing machine’s motor needs to be replaced or the belt is broken or needs to be tightened.

Female hand wash a pink T-shirt in a basin

The Washing Machine Pumps Water In but Never Fills

This plumbing problem occurs when the drain hose is not installed correctly. The drain hose needs to be above a certain height for water to remain in the machine. If it has come out of the drain trap and is lying on the floor, you will quickly discover that water runs out just as fast as it is pumping into the machine—because your laundry room floor will flood.

The Washing Machine Will Not Drain

If the washing machine fills and washes okay, but it won’t drain, it could be caused by a few different problems. You need to listen to see if you can hear the drain pump kick on or not. If you do not hear the pump turn on, then the drain pump may need replacing.

If the drain pump turns on but water isn’t coming out the drain hose, there is a clog in the drain hose. You will probably want to call your plumber for help, as you will need to get the water out of the machine without making a huge mess.

With top-loading machines, you could get most of it out one bucket at a time. However, with front-loaders, it is more difficult. The water is in the bottom part of the machine. If the drain hose is clogged, you will need to remove the hose and quickly attach another.

If the drain pump is not working, and there is not a clog, you can drain the water. Start by shutting off the washer and unplugging it from the wall. Take the drain hose and lower it to floor level and drain the water into a bucket. Raise the hose back up to stop the water from draining out onto the floor. Repeat this process until all the water is drained out of the machine.

The Washing Machine Drains but Water Is Coming Out the Drain Line

Dirt, debris, hair, and lint all get pumped out of the drain hose and down the drain line. Over time, these things can start to build up inside the drain line and create a drain clog. If water is back-flowing up the drain line and going back into the washing machine or flooding the laundry room, call your plumber for drain cleaning service.

  • Tip to Avoid Clogged Drain Lines: Have your plumber install a filter on the drain hose. The filter will catch those things that clog the drain line.

The Washing Machine Will Not Spin

If all of the other wash cycle functions work, except the spin function, the problem could be caused by a faulty motor. Motors have different speeds that operate the belt and turn the wash drum. During the spin function, the motor runs at a faster speed to turn the drum very fast.

The belt could also be slipping or be loose if the drum turns slowly but never goes into high-speed spinning. Yet another problem is if there is a kink in the drain hose. The kink could prevent all the water from draining out of the washing machine and being left in the clothes.

The Washing Machine Shakes, Rattles, and Rolls

This problem often means the washing machine is not balanced correctly. Take a level and make sure the machine is level from left-to-right and front-to-back. The bubble in the level should be in the middle.

An easy way to check if the machine is not leveled is to see if you can tip it from side to side. If it tilts, it is not balanced. You will need to adjust the feet on the machine to get it balanced unless you have a self-balancing model. Then you just need to lift it up and place it back down on the floor.

Water Is Coming Out the Door During the Wash Cycle

soap coming out from broken washing machine

Another type of washing machine problem you can experience with front-loading machines is water leaking out from around the door during the wash cycle. This problem can occur if the door seal is bad and needs replacing. It can also occur if the door was not shut correctly and part of the seal is kinked or pinched.

Troubleshooting the source of washing machine problems starts by doing some simple tests yourself, which can better help your plumber fix them faster when you call for washing machine plumbing services.

To schedule service on your washing machine in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Temple, and the Austin Metro Area, please feel free to call Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today! We also have 24-hour emergency plumber technicians on call should you have a washing machine or another plumbing repair emergency.


How to Make Sure Your Drinking Water Is Safe

Posted on October 31st, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

One thing many people take for granted in the 21st century is safe drinking water. Unfortunately, as events in cities like Flint have shown, that might not always be the case. However, you can take some steps to make sure your water is safe to drink.

The most obvious way to figure out if your drinking water is safe is to look at it. If your water is oddly colored or cloudy, for instance, you might not want to drink it. If you really want to make sure your drinking water is safe, you can also get more in-depth information, such as by sending a sample of your water to a lab to get tested.

If you discover your water isn’t safe to drink, you can take steps to clean it up. These steps can range from something as simple as getting a water filter to something as costly as replacing your old pipes.

Making sure your drinking water is safe can eliminate a major health hazard for not only you but everyone who lives in and visits your house. If you want to find out more about how to make sure your drinking water is safe, read the infographic below.

How to Make Sure Your Drinking Water Is Safe Infographic

Click below to embed this infographic into your website:


Bathroom Plumbing 101: Removing and Preventing Mold & Mildew

Posted on October 25th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Both mold and mildew are common problems found in the bathrooms of most homes. If you think your bathroom is mold- and mildew-free, you may not be looking in every location where these two can hide in cracks, crevices, and corners where you may not notice them.

While both mold and mildew are types of fungi, there are some key differences between the two you need to know. Understanding these differences can help you remove and prevent mold and mildew in your bathrooms, as well as avoid many bathroom plumbing problems.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus that favors warm, moist, and humid areas like the bathroom. Mold requires some type of organic material to form—like dead skin cells left on the shower walls or a shower puff. Mold also likes to form in areas where you cannot see it immediately—like under soap and shampoo bottles where water is trapped underneath.

Mold appears as either black or greenish-black in color. The spores will continue to propagate and grow if you do not take steps to remove it right away. As mold spreads, it can become more difficult to get rid of without the help of a professional.

Mold fungus and rust growing in tile joints in damp poorly ventilated

What Is Mildew?

Mildew is also a type of fungus that favors warm, moist, and humid areas. Unlike mold, mildew can easily form on any moist, warm surface. When it appears, it may look gray, yellow, or white and look like a powder or have a fluffy-cotton-like texture.

Mildew prefers to grow on fabrics like bath towels, hand towels, and bath and shower puffs/exfoliating sponges. Mildew can also form on the floors, ceilings, and walls in bathrooms. Unlike mold, mildew is much easier to spot since it propagates just about anywhere in the bathroom.

What Are Some Common Causes of Mold and Mildew?

Mold and mildew thrive in damp, moist, and humid environments. In the bathroom, there are several sources of moisture, such as:

  • Steam from the hot water.
  • Water leaks from bathroom plumbing.
  • Damp towels, facecloths, loofahs, etc.

One primary cause of lingering moisture is a lack of sufficient ventilation.

Why are mold and mildew such a problem in the bathroom?

Part of the reason mold and mildew can be a problem in the bathroom is that both fungi can easily be hidden from plain sight. You could have a mold or mildew problem in places you cannot easily see. Some of the places where mold and mildew could be growing unchecked could include:

  • Under Bathroom Sinks
  • In Between Shower Doors/Door Tracts
  • Around Air Intake Slots on Exhaust Fans
  • Inside Bathroom Walls
  • Under Bathroom Flooring
  • Under Showers
  • Under Bathtubs
  • In Between Creases on the Shower Curtain

Obviously, you cannot tear out walls and flooring to check for mold and mildew. However, you can check under bathroom sinks. Make sure to look up into the cabinet and check the bottom of the sink, around bathroom plumbing connections, and in other areas with a flashlight. If you have an access door on your shower or bathtub, remove it to inspect inside the wall or under the tub or shower for signs of mold and mildew.

How do you effectively remove mold and mildew?

You can effectively remove mold and mildew using an appropriate bathroom cleaning product. Look for products that say they are for mold and mildew. Before removing mold and mildew, you do need to take some precautions, as mold and mildew spores can cause sneezing, coughing, and other respiratory problems when you start removing them.

You should wear a face mask to cover your mouth and nose. You also want to use rubber gloves to protect your hands. Spray the cleaning product onto the affected areas and allow it to soak for several minutes. Use a damp sponge to wipe the area clean.

Next, take a clean bucket of water and a clean sponge to rinse the area. Repeat this process until all areas have been cleaned. For tough areas like grout in between bathroom tiles, use a toothbrush to scrub the mold and mildew away.

If mold or mildew has grown into bathroom caulking, you will need to remove the caulking and have it replaced. Most people call their plumber for assistance to ensure all affected caulk is fully removed and new caulk is applied correctly.

How do you prevent mold and mildew from returning?

There are several different ways you can help prevent mold and mildew from becoming a problem in the bathroom, including:

  • Clean the bathroom once a week.
  • Inspect for plumbing problems and leaks when cleaning.
  • Use a mold- and mildew-resistant shower curtain.
  • Replace the shower curtain every three months if it can’t be washed.
  • Spray the shower curtain and tub and shower walls daily after showering with a mold and mildew cleaning product.
  • Use a squeegee on bathtub and shower walls, shower doors, or the shower curtain to remove excess water.
  • Never keep soap, shampoo, shaving gel, razors, face cloths, loofahs, etc. in the tub or shower.
  • Turn on the bathroom ventilation fan when showering or bathing.
  • Wash bathroom towels, rugs, face cloths, loofahs, etc. weekly.
  • Hang up towels, rugs, face cloths, loofahs, etc. to dry.
  • Clean the ventilation fan—just make sure it is turned off first.

woman housekeeping ventilation cleaning

If you do not have a bathroom ventilation fan, it is recommended to have one installed. If you have a bathroom window, you can open that to help let out moisture in the cooler fall and winter months. However, during the hot, humid Texas summers, opening the window will only add to the humidity in the bathroom.

If you discover any plumbing problems and leaks, you want to shut off the water to the affected area right away. Once the water is shut off, clean up all the excess water. Run a dehumidifier, if necessary, to help. Call your 24-hour plumber to have leaks and other problems fixed.

What if mold and mildew keep returning even with regular prevention?

Sometimes mold and mildew can be growing behind walls. You could have a mold and mildew problem, which started in another room from a leaking plumbing line, that will eventually spread to the bathroom.

Even though you are cleaning weekly and following other preventative tips, the mold and mildew could keep returning. If this is the case, then it is time to call in a professional plumber for a plumbing inspection to find water leaks and fix any they find.

What other areas of the home should I check for mold and mildew?

Essentially, any area that has plumbing can have an issue with mold and mildew—like the kitchen and laundry room. In these locations, make sure to check regularly for water leaks. Another area to include in your mold and mildew plumbing inspection is the water heater.

Tank-based water heaters can be a big problem because they create hot water, which can increase humidity and provide a moist, damp environment for mold and mildew. Check for water leaks around the water heater, including the drain pan underneath the heater. If you have a tankless water heater, make sure to inspect the plumbing connections for leaks.

When should I call in a bathroom plumbing professional for help?

Plumber caulking bath tube with silicone glue using cartridge

If you discover any water leaks, chances are there may be more, depending on the age of your home’s plumbing. It is a good idea to get help for various bathroom plumbing issues, including:

  • Sink, Shower, and Bathtub Faucet Repair or Replacement
  • New Shower or Bathtub Installation
  • Toilet Repairs and Replacements
  • Leak Detection
  • Leak Repairs
  • Water Heater Leaks, Repairs, and Replacements

If you are getting ready to buy a new home, it is also highly recommended to get a plumbing inspection to verify there are no plumbing problems or issues with mold and mildew.

For all of your bathroom plumbing repairs, replacements, and new installations, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Temple, or the Austin Metro Area today!


Kitchen Sink Plumbing 101: Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

Posted on October 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

If you have a garbage disposal as part of your kitchen sink, it is important to clean it to prevent foul odors from stinking up the kitchen. The foul odors come from grease, food particles, and other such things that get stuck to the inside of the garbage disposal and the kitchen sink plumbing.

There are several effective methods for cleaning the disposal to keep odors away and your disposal working great. To clean your disposal, you will want to gather the following cleaning supplies:

  • Grease-Cutting Dish Soap
  • Sponge
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Ice
  • Kosher/Rock Salt
  • Lemons or Limes

Once you have your cleaning supplies ready, the first and most important step is to make sure your disposal is off.

Food waste disposer machine.

WARNING: Before cleaning your disposal, make sure to unplug it from the power outlet or shut off the breaker in your breaker box. Verify the disposal does not have power by turning it on. If you shut it off correctly, it will not turn on.

Step 1: Wash the inside of the disposal.

Wet the sponge in warm water and apply a liberal amount of grease-cutting dish soap. Scrub the inside of the disposal chamber. If you have a dual-sided sink, fill the non-disposal side with warm water to rinse the gunk out of the sponge. Reapply more dish soap if needed and repeat. Allow the dish soap to penetrate and cut through the grease for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse out the disposal with warm water.

Step 2: De-gunk the hard-to-reach areas of the disposal.

Pour one-half to three-quarters of a cup of baking soda into the disposal. Slowly add an equal amount of vinegar into the disposal. You will hear the two interact and start foaming. Place the sink drain cover over the drain opening.

Allow the fizzing action to work for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse the disposal out with cold water by allowing it to run down the drain for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 3: Remove difficult buildup from the disposal chamber.

Fill the disposal full of ice cubes. Pour in about one cup of kosher or rock salt. Plug the disposal back into the outlet or turn the breaker switch back on. Turn on the cold water so it trickles down the drain and turn on the disposal. The ice and salt “scrub” the inside of the chamber.

Step 4: Freshen up the disposal.

Take your lemons or limes and cut them into quarters. Be sure to remove any seeds and discard them. Drop the citrus pieces down the disposal and turn it on while running cold water down the drain. The oils in the citrus freshen up the disposal and drain and make it pleasant-smelling.

How frequently should I clean my garbage disposal?

It depends on how much you use it. If you use it every day, then you want to clean it every 1 to 2 weeks. If you use it a few times each week, then once a month is sufficient. Part of keeping your disposal clean is also paying attention to what you put in it.

You should never put any of these items into the disposal:

Woman Looking At Male Plumber Cleaning Clogged Sink Pipe

  • Potatoes
  • Potato Peelings
  • Pasta
  • Egg Shells
  • Bones
  • Fruit Seeds and Pits
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Rice
  • Hot Grease
  • Any Non-Food Item

If you have a clogged kitchen sink and disposal, do not use harsh chemical drain cleaners and clog removal products. Try using a plunger and, if that does not work, get help from one of our professional plumbers.

Our plumbing experts can help you with all of your kitchen plumbing maintenance, repairs, and new installations, including garbage disposal replacement. Call your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Temple, or the Austin Metro Area today!

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