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Energy-Efficient Smart Thermostats: How Do They Work?

Posted on May 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Energy-efficient smart thermostats are those sleek and cool-looking devices with the digital LED displays used to control your air conditioning and heating system. They are very different from those “old-school” dial thermostats, where you turn the dial to set the temperature you want inside your home.

They are also an upgrade from programmable thermostats that feature basic LED displays, similar to old cell phones. One of the key differences between smart thermostats and dial-style and programmable models is they connect to the internet. This feature helps you tap into a wide range of features and benefits to further expand the functionality of the thermostat.

Raumthermostat digital - Rund - Hand

Energy-Efficient Smart Thermostats – Features and Benefits

Besides being able to control the thermostat from the interface on the wall like conventional thermostats, smart thermostats also include:

  • Access through a smartphone/tablet app. Each smart thermostat manufacturer offers an app so you can access the settings in your home from anywhere you have an internet connection. For instance, you could adjust the settings a few degrees cooler or warmer than you had programmed earlier in the day before coming home from work. Alternatively, if you happen to leave for a vacation and forget to set the thermostat to “vacation mode”, you could do it from your phone without having to turn back.
  • Smart thermostats integrate with voice-activated personal assistants. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can both be taught the appropriate “skill” to interface with smart thermostats. Imagine you just sat down to eat dinner and you are hot. Instead of having to get up to turn down the thermostat, you just ask Alexa or Assistant to do it for you.
  • Smart thermostats learn your routine. With the right setup, smart thermostats use AI (artificial intelligence) to learn your routines to know when you are home or away. This feature allows the device to adjust temperature levels based on your previous preferences.
  • Smart thermostats can control multiple zones. In larger homes that have two or more separate heating and cooling units, a single smart thermostat can be configured to control the settings for each system or zone.

Additionally, certain models can track your energy usage, as well as build an energy profile for your home. Best of all, smart thermostats can connect to other devices like smart dehumidifiers and smart humidifiers and also control those devices.

remote home control online home automation system on a digital tablet

How Does Smart Thermostat Installation Save Money on Energy Bills?

With a traditional dial-style thermostat, your home is cooled or heated constantly at that same setting. Most people are away from home between 8 to 10 hours each day. Do you really need to keep your home cooled or heated to the same setting all day? Not necessarily.

Just like a programmable thermostat, a smart thermostat can be programmed to change the temperature settings so you use less energy to cool or heat your home when you are away. Unlike programmable thermostats, smart thermostats can automatically make temperature changes even if you forget to program or change them yourself.

Another way smart thermostats help save you money is they can be configured to track your local weather conditions. If the weather ends up being hotter or colder than you anticipated, the thermostat will adjust your home’s cooling and heating settings to match the weather.

To learn more about energy-efficient smart thermostats, installation, or to upgrade to one when getting new AC installation, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in Temple, New Braunfels, San Antonio or Austin Metro today!

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Is It Time to Replace Your Sewer Line?

Posted on May 22nd, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

If you’re having plumbing problems, you might be tempted to fix them on your own. Unfortunately, if your sewer drain is moving slowly, it doesn’t always mean there’s a simple clog you can handle on your own. You may need a sewer cleaning or sewer repair to fix the problem.

Your sewer line is something you should pay close attention to. The longer you let a problem start to build up, the worse it will become—and it can end up costing you more money, in the long run. Plus, if your sewer line is out of commission, you could have quite a mess (and a smell!) on your hands.

However, most people don’t pay much attention to their drainage system until a big problem occurs. By that time, it’s often too late for any “quick fixes.” So, let’s look at a few signs you should be aware of that indicate it might be time to replace your sewer line.

The Water in Your Toilet Bowl Goes Up and Down

water running into kitchen sink drain

Toilet bowl water levels shouldn’t be inconsistent—at least not to the point where it’s noticeable. Because we use and flush toilets all the time, a variation in water levels within the toilet bowl could indicate that you have a clog somewhere in the system.

While this might be something you can ignore for a while, it could also be a ticking time bomb. Think of it this way—the longer you ignore it, the worse the clog could become. You might be able to flush freely one day—and the next day, you’ll experience a backup.

A backed up toilet can lead to even bigger issues, especially when it comes to clean-up. If you notice that the water in your bowl is different all the time, call a plumber as soon as possible.

You Smell Sewage

One telltale sign that there is a problem with your sewer line is that you actually start to smell sewage within your home. This is one of the most noticeable signs, of course, and one that shouldn’t be ignored.

Even if you don’t smell sewage in your house, take a trip out to your backyard. Does it smell bad out there? Is there a pool of standing water? You could still have a sewage leak that could be showing up as puddles in your yard. Because of the smell outside, you may even start to attract rodents, bugs, and more. Keep track of where the standing water is, and then call a 24-hour plumbing service to come help right away!

Slow, Noisy Drains

People often assume a slow-flowing drain can be fixed with a plunger or a store-bought drain cleaning liquid. If you have problems with your sewer pipes, those solutions won’t get the job done.

If the drains in your house are consistently moving slowly, it can quickly become an annoyance. If you start to hear gurgling noises from your pipes, it’s time to call a plumber. It’s not always a good idea to keep using store-bought drain cleaners. In some cases, they may cause more damage, especially if there’s already a leak somewhere in your pipes. If your drain is gurgling, it’s trying to tell you something, so be sure to listen and get your pipes repaired as soon as possible.

Your Water Use Is Down, but Your Bill Keeps Going Up

pipe hose drain knob tube

No one wants to deal with astronomical utility bills. More often than not, people can estimate what their water bills are going to be each month. So, if you start to notice that your bill is significantly rising with no real explanation, it could be a sign of a leaking pipe somewhere.

No matter how much you shorten your showers (or yell at your kids to keep them quick!) or keep track of your water use, it won’t make much of a difference when you have a problem with your sewer pipes. The only solution is calling an experienced plumber to repair the leak. Once you do, your bill should start going back to its usual rates, and you can start doing more than one load of laundry per week again.

Mold Growing Inside

If you have a broken sewer pipe behind a wall, it could start to cause mold growth. Your home doesn’t need to be that warm or humid in order for mold to grow and thrive. By the time you see mold forming on a wall or on the ceiling, you could have a world of trouble going on behind the drywall.

Mold can be dangerous in many ways, and it should be taken seriously right away. This is especially true if you have anyone in your house with any kind of respiratory issues like asthma.

You’ll likely notice an odor along with it, so there will be absolutely no mistaking the problem you have. If you do start to see or smell mold in your house, don’t wait to call a professional to not only get rid of the mold but fix your pipes right away.

Keeping Your Pipes Perfect

repairing the plumbing pipes with monkey wrench

As you can see, sewer system damage isn’t exactly a barrel of fun, and it can come with a wide array of different problems. Unfortunately, the longer you let these issues go, the more troublesome they can be for your home. In some cases, they can even affect the structure or foundation of your home!

So, don’t go along with slow drains and high utility bills any longer. The fact is, they could be the least of your worries if you have a damaged sewer system. If you’re in the San Antonio or Austin areas and you’re experiencing any of these issues or other pipe problems that have you concerned, contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing right away. We pride ourselves in offering quality plumbing services—even for emergencies.

Whether you’re dealing with stinking sewage, standing water, slow drains, or stopped toilets, we can find the source of your problem and provide the solution as quickly as possible, so life can get back to normal!

How to Use Your HVAC Unit Efficiently

Posted on May 16th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live without your HVAC? Year after year, these systems provide us with warmth in the winter and relief in the summer. It’s not until they stop working properly until we realize just how important they are, and how important it is to keep them running smoothly. A happy HVAC unit makes a happy family!

The best way to make your HVAC happy is to use it efficiently. Efficiency is a measure of how much energy is expended to produce a result. The less energy used to keep your house warm or cool, and the less the unit has to work, the less strain you’re putting on the system. Parts will last longer before they wear out, your energy bills will be lower, and you’ll have more reliable temperatures, all year round.

If you know what you’re doing, using your unit efficiently is simple. While getting regular, professional maintenance for your HVAC is vital, there are also a number of things you can do yourself. You don’t even need to expend time and effort: just a few minor lifestyle changes are all it takes.

Keep your family happy. Ease the strain on your HVAC unit (and your wallet) and follow these usage tips to get you started!

How to Use Your HVAC Unit Efficiently Infographic

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Why Is My Air Conditioning System Dripping Water?

Posted on April 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

No matter what type of air conditioning system you have on your home—split system, packaged system or window units—they all work in a similar fashion and will produce water. The water they produce is condensation, and this is normal. The condensation is created from the following operations:

  1. When the air conditioner is turned on, it starts to pull the warm humid air out of your home and over the cooling coils.
  2. The cooling coils are colder because they are filled with some type of refrigerant that is circulating through the coils.
  3. The water vapor in the warm humid air starts to condense on the cooling coils.
  4. As more water condenses, it will eventually start dripping off the coiling coils into a drain pan.
  5. As the drain pain starts to get full, the water slowly drains away down a connected drain pipe.

Depending on the type of AC system you have installed, it will determine how the drain pipe is connected. On split systems and packaged systems, where the AC cooling coils are outdoors, the drain pipe is normally attached to the unit and drains directly into the ground away from the unit.

Air Conditioner system next to a home

For indoor AC systems, the drain pipe could be connected to one of your plumbing drain lines. For window units, the drain pipe normally is in a location on the back of the unit farthest from the home, and it drips out of the unit onto the ground.

When Water Dripping from Your Air Conditioning System Is Not Normal

There are a few different cases where water dripping from the AC system is not considered part of its normal operations. If you notice an excessive amount of water on the base of your outdoor unit or have noticed water backing up inside the home near the indoor part of your split AC system, it could be the result of one or more of the following:

  • Clogged Drain Line: If the drain line gets clogged with dirt and debris, the drain pan will overflow.
  • Rusted or Damaged Drain Pan: On older units, the drain pans were made of metal and can rust, allowing the water to flow out of the pan, not down the drain line. On newer units, the pans are made of plastic but could still get damaged from normal wear and tear.

technician inspects an ac unit

  • Dirty Coiling Coils Vents: If the vents on your outdoor unit are full of dust and dirt, the cooling coils can freeze up and lead to excess water. When they thaw, it can cause the drain pan to overflow.
  • Broken or Disconnected Drain Line: If the drain line is broken or becomes disconnected from the drain pan, the water will not drain correctly.
  • Refrigerant Level Is Low: If your AC system is low on refrigerant, it, too, will cause the cooling coils to freeze up.
  • Condensation Pump Broken: Some units have a condensation pump that pumps the water out of the drain pan and into the drain line. If the pump breaks, then the pan can overflow.

In order to determine the exact cause of abnormal water dripping, it is best to call a professional for air conditioning repair service.

The best way to avoid unexpected AC repair calls is by having your AC system inspected, tested, and tuned up before the hot Texas summer arrives. Call the cooling experts at your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in San Antonia, Temple, New Braunfels, or Austin Metro today to schedule AC maintenance!

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Heat Pump Systems vs. Traditional HVAC Systems

Posted on April 19th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

You have a few different options when you are shopping around for a new air conditioning installation for your Texas home. Two of your options are traditional HVAC systems and heat pump systems. Both systems can heat and cool your home, but there are a few key differences in how they work.

You need to understand these differences in order to choose the best cooling option for your home. Let’s take a look at how each one works, how they are installed, and which one is most efficient for those hot Texas summers.

How Heat Pump Systems Work

The name “heat pump” can be misleading because you think it would just heat your home. The name of this system actually refers to how it operates. A heat pump moves warm and hot air from one area to another instead of heating the air.

air conditioning unit

The warm air being transferred through the heat pump will do one of two things. In the summertime, it moves the hot air from inside the home into the unit, and then absorbs the heat from the hot air. Next, it blows the now-cooled air back into the home.

The cooling function on heat pump systems functions in a similar way to those on an air conditioning system. The primary difference is a heat pump can also be used to heat the home, and it does not require a separate furnace or heating unit. During the cooler winter months, a heat pump absorbs the heat energy found in outdoor air and blows the warm air into the home.

How Traditional AC and Heating Systems Work

With a traditional air conditioning system, hot air is drawn out of the house through the return air duct. It is passed over cooling coils inside the outdoor unit. Inside the coils is a refrigerant that absorbs the heat from the air and cools it. After the air is cooled, it is blown back into the home.

If you also want to heat your home, you need a separate furnace inside the home or a packaged outdoor unit. Packaged systems are common in Texas, as they include the AC system and a separate heating system that is installed outside your home. The main benefit of a packaged system is it frees up space inside the home where a furnace and other shared system components would be installed.

Heat Pump Systems Installation

Heat pump systems consist of various parts and components. There is an indoor unit that will have a fan, air handler (blower motor), and cooling/heating coils. There is also an outdoor unit that contains its own cooling/heating coils and a fan to help move air over the coils.

The heat pump is installed in a similar way to a conventional split HVAC system. Once installed, the air handler is connected to the ductwork inside your home. There is a return air vent and an air filter as well. In place of a traditional heating coil, the heat pump has a reversing valve. This valve allows the refrigerant to flow in opposite directions. Which way the refrigerant flows will depend on whether the system is set to heat or cool the home.

There is a variant available with heat pump systems for homes without air ducts, called a ductless system. These systems are typically mounted on the walls in the rooms you want to heat and cool. They are connected to a small outdoor unit.

technician working on a heat pump outside

Traditional Heating and Air Conditioner Installation

With a traditional heating and cooling system, the furnace part of the system is installed indoors while the cooling unit is installed outdoors. These two systems are connected together inside, where they share some similar components like the air handler, blower motor, air filter, and ductwork.

With a packaged HVAC system, the entire unit is installed outside the home. Once installed, it is connected to the existing ductwork. The air handler, blower motor, and heating system are all contained within the outdoor cooling unit. Many homes in Texas have these because our winters tend to be shorter and we rely upon our air conditioning systems much more.

Which Type of System Is More Energy Efficient?

You can find both heat pump systems and traditional HVAC systems which are very energy efficient. Ideally, you want a system with a SEER rating of 13 or more. A SEER rating of 18 is considered very efficient.

Part of the system’s efficiency does depend on your preferred indoor air temperature. This will determine how often the system has to run. In general, and under normal operating conditions, both energy-efficient heat pumps and air conditioning systems tend to cost about the same to operate during the hot Texas summers.

How Long Does Each Type of System Last?

With regular maintenance at least twice a year, heat pump systems last about 12 to 15 years if they are constantly run every day. AC systems, on the other hand, can last between 15 to 20 years since you are only using them for about eight months or so each year.

Heat Pump vs. Air Conditioning Installation Costs

It is important to keep in mind the costs for heat pump or air conditioning installation do vary based on the features, options, brand, size, style, and type of system you choose to have installed. That being said, please remember the following are just generalized estimated installation costs and should not be considered an actual quoted system installation price.

Heat pumps can range in cost from as little as $700 for the smallest systems to around $3,000 for larger or multiple systems. Traditional air conditioning systems can range from around $1,500 for smaller units to around $3,400 for larger or multiple systems.

In addition, ductless systems tend to cost more and have their own range of prices. These will also vary based on the number of rooms you need to heat and cool inside your home. For the most accurate system and installation costs, it is best to request a free quote from one of our qualified heating and cooling installation professionals.

Which System Is Best for Hot Texas Summers?

Heat pump systems are well suited for moderate climates that do not have very cold winters. In Texas, they can work rather well if you do not need to keep your home at lower indoor air temperatures in the mid to high-60s. If you are comfortable with the thermostat set to 76 to 78 or even 80, then a heat pump could be the right choice for your home.

If you like your home cooler, then a traditional air conditioning system could be the better option. This is because traditional systems are able to cool and reduce air temperatures much faster on extremely hot days.

air condioner repairman thumbsup

Other Considerations When Selecting a New System

One of the most important things to consider, aside from efficiency, system cost, and installation cost, is the size of the unit itself. You want a unit that is sized correctly for your home. If you get a unit that is undersized, it will not be able to keep up with your cooling and heating demands. Not to mention, it will not be energy efficient at all.

Conversely, you want to avoid getting an oversized system too. Having a larger system than your home needs will cost more to operate and not provide any noticeable benefits to keeping your home cooled or heated. In addition, you will have much higher heating and cooling energy bills.

In the end, it really comes down to your own personal heating and cooling needs. If you only have a few rooms you need to heat and cool or a small home, a heat pump could be best for you. If you have a larger home or like to keep it much cooler during the hot Texas summers, then a traditional air conditioning system could be perfect.

For assistance in deciding whether heat pump systems or traditional HVAC systems are best for your home, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or Austin Metro today! We would be happy to discuss your heating and cooling needs and help you find the most cost-effective and energy efficient system for your home.

5 Signs It’s Time to Call a Plumber for Your Bathroom

Posted on March 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

No one wants to deal with bathroom plumbing problems. Unfortunately, they’re often a part of home ownership. If you’re repeatedly dealing with something like a clogged toilet or a clogged shower drain, getting the help you need to fix it quickly is crucial.

While it’s true that there are some bathroom plumbing problems you might be able to fix on your own, it’s important to know when you should call a plumber.

A licensed, professional plumber will not only fix your bathroom plumbing issues right away, but they’ll ensure that everything is working properly so you don’t have to worry about the same issues again.

So, when should you hand over your plumbing problems to a professional?

adjustable wrench and pipes

1. A Leaky Faucet

Sink plumbing issues are often ignored because people think they aren’t huge problems. They don’t want to spend the money or time waiting on a plumber to come and fix a leaky faucet. After all, a little drip here and there won’t hurt, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

A leaky faucet can cause more damage than most people realize. First of all, they are huge water wasters. You might not think that little drops of water would add up to much, but you’ll notice a difference in your water bill as it starts to increase.

More importantly, a leaky faucet can cause the valve seat to corrode over time. Only a professional can fix a valve seat, so why not save yourself the trouble and cost, and get the faucet fixed before it causes more serious damage?

2. A Sudden Pressure Drop

If you’ve noticed your shower and/or sinks have dramatically dropped their water pressure, it’s important to investigate the issue right away. The first thing you can do is to call your water company. They’ll let you know if it’s an issue that’s affecting your whole neighborhood or just your house.

If it’s just your home’s water pressure that is having issues, it’s time to call a plumber. It could be a sign that you have a leak somewhere that needs to be found and fixed. The leak could be anywhere—even in the walls or ceiling! That’s why it’s crucial to call a qualified plumber quickly so they can repair the leak before it has the chance to cause any water or structural damage to your home.

dripping tap

3. Sudden Drop in Temperature

No one wants to take a cold shower in the morning. If you’ve noticed a sudden drop in temperature with your water, it’s likely a problem with your water heater. Sometimes, parts in water heaters can simply be replaced.

Other times, the entire unit may need to be replaced. Either way, it’s always a good idea to call a plumber for this job. Water heaters can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing since they’re powered by either electric or gas. Whether the issue with the heater is big or small, it’s best to let a professional handle it.

4. A Toilet That Won’t Stop Running

A constantly running toilet isn’t an uncommon issue. It’s also an issue that can sometimes be fixed on your own, depending on what the problem is.

If you’ve already tried things like replacing the flapper or float tube apparatus, it could be the sign of something more. A running toilet could mean you also have a leaking toilet. That’s when you know it’s time to call a plumber, so they can identify the real underlying problem, and get it fixed quickly.

5. Clogged Drains

Clogged shower drains or clogged toilets are also pretty common plumbing problems to have. Again, you can sometimes deal with them on your own, but if your drains are consistently slow or clogged and you can’t seem to get them cleared out, a plumber can help.

A plumber will not only clean out the debris causing the clogs but can also install drain screens, which will prevent your pipes from clogging up again.

Fixing the Most Common Plumbing Problems

While it can be tempting to tackle your bathroom plumbing problems on your own, it’s usually much safer and effective to call an experienced plumber like Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

Our years of experience and dedication to customer service shine through in every plumbing job we do. So, whether you have a leak, a clog, or something you can’t quite describe, don’t worry about bathroom plumbing issues yourself. Let us take care of them for you! If you’ve got a plumbing issue or questions, feel free to give us a call today.

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Why Is My Hot Water Pressure Low?

Posted on March 22nd, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

There can be several different reasons why hot water pressure decreases. The water that passes through your hot water tank or tankless system should be flowing at the same amount of pressure as the cold water. When it is not flowing at the same rate, then the cause could be from hot water heater problems or problems with the plumbing water supply lines inside your home.

Some of the more common reasons for low hot water pressure could include:

  • Hard water scale and mineral deposits inside the plumbing lines. If your home has hard water, there will be scale and mineral deposits which gradually form inside water supply lines. Eventually, the buildup can become so bad, it will cause the water pressure to drop since water flow is being restricted.
  • Sediment and scale buildup inside the water heater. For homes with tank-type water heaters, sediment and scale problems do occur. The inside of tank-type heaters can corrode and, eventually, this corrosion settles to the bottom of the tank. However, sometimes the pieces of sediment get drawn into the hot water supply line and will create a blockage which lowers water pressure. For tankless heaters, scale buildup does occur and can be an issue affecting water pressure.

defective heating an electric boiler

  • Kinked water supply intake or outtake lines. Most tank-type water heaters have accordion-style copper water pipes which are easy to bend. If the pipe itself is bent too sharply or kinked, the water will not flow through it correctly and could cause a reduction in water pressure.
  • Too many bends in the plumbing lines to reach the faucet. The distance the hot water has to travel until it comes out of the faucet also affects the water pressure. If the water has to go around numerous bends, each time the water hits the elbow in the pipe, it loses some pressure.
  • The shutoff valve is partially closed. If the shutoff valve on the water heater is partially closed, water flow is restricted. This will cause a reduction in water pressure in all hot water supply lines throughout the entire home.
  • The whole house has low water pressure. If both your hot and cold water supply lines have low water pressure, then the problem is often related to the direct main water supply line coming into your home.
  • The water supply lines are not sized correctly. If the water supply lines are too small or have been downsized from the size of the main water supply, then water pressure is reduced. This is because the flow of water is attempting to go from a large pipe into a smaller one.
  • The main house water supply shutoff valve is partially closed. If the water main supply line has been partially closed, it will cause a reduction in the water pressure in both hot and cold water lines.
  • The pressure regulator is not configured correctly or needs to be replaced. On homes with pressure regulators, if it was not set correctly and was left on a lower water pressure, you will not have good pressure inside your home. In addition, if the regulator is defective or has worn out, it could result in reduced water pressure.
  • Your home has old steel water pipes which have corroded inside so badly, it is creating a blockage. On homes that still have steel water pipes, they will corrode and rust inside the water supply lines. Just like tank-type water heater sediment, the corroded pieces can break off and create a small clog that restricts hot water flow and reduced water pressure.
  • The faucet or fixture is worn out and/or has excessive scale buildup. The cause for reduced hot water pressure could also be related to a worn-out faucet or fixture that needs to be replaced. Hard water scale and mineral deposits also build up inside faucets and fixtures.

What Can Be Done to Fix Low Hot Water Pressure?

The first thing you should do is determine whether the problem is isolated to a single sink, bathtub, or shower or is affecting all of the hot water faucets and fixtures in the entire home. Once you have done this, then you can start to narrow down the potential reasons for reduced hot water pressure to fix it. Let’s take a look at how to fix low water pressure from the reasons we stated previously.

  • Hard water scale and mineral deposits inside the plumbing lines. The two options to fix this problem is to either have your plumber clean the water supply lines or replace them with new water pipes.
  • Sediment and scale buildup inside the water heater. If your water heater is not that old, you could have your plumber flush and clean the sediment and scale from inside the tank. If your water heater is more than eight years old you may need to replace the water heater.
  • Kinked water supply intake or outtake lines. You will need to replace the water supply lines that are kinked too badly. If they are just bent too sharply, you could attempt to reduce the sharpness of the bend, but you do need to be careful to not further kink the pipe.
  • Too many bends in the plumbing lines to reach the faucet. You could have your plumber repipe the plumbing lines to the areas of the home that have problems with reduced hot water pressure. If the entire home is affected, another option is to have a pressure regulator installed if you do not have one or to have your plumber adjust the setting to increase water pressure.
  • The shutoff valve is partially closed.  If the shutoff valve to the water tank is partially closed, simply open it up all the way.

male hand turning blue valve on copper pipe

  • The whole house has low water pressure. You could have your plumber install a pressure regulator, if you do not have one, or have the setting adjusted to increase pressure.
  • The water supply lines are not sized correctly. To fix this problem, you could have your water supply lines repiped by your plumber so they are larger. With larger water supply lines, pressure reduction and friction are reduced. In certain cases, you could gain quite a noticeable amount of pressure increase.
  • The main house water supply shutoff valve is partially closed. Open the water main up all the way so it is fully turned on.
  • The pressure regulator is not configured correctly or needs to be replaced. Check the setting on the pressure regulator. If it is set correctly but you are having low water pressure issues in both hot and cold water supply lines, it needs to be replaced. If it is too low, it needs to be adjusted carefully as to not increase the water pressure too much. For both fixes, call your 24-hour plumber and schedule a service call.
  • Your home has old steel water pipes that have corroded inside so badly, it is creating a blockage. The best solution is to get a whole home water repiping completed from a qualified plumber who has experience performing this service.
  • The faucet or fixture is worn out and/or has excessive scale buildup. If the cause for reduced water pressure is the faucet or fixture, have your plumber replace it with a new one.

Please keep in mind, everyone’s home plumbing configurations and causes for reduced hot water pressure can be and are different. In certain cases, your home could have multiple reasons for reduced hot water pressure.

Why You Should Call a Professional 24-Hour Plumber for Help

While determining the reasons for your home’s reduced hot water pressure is something most people can do themselves, when it comes time to do the actual fix, it is often better to call in a professional plumber for assistance.

Tank-type water heaters are under a large amount of pressure. There are safety risks, including the risk of severe burns and potential water heater explosions. Hot water heater problems should be left in the hands of an experienced professional so you do not have to risk injuring yourself or others.

If you need repiping performed, it requires knowing exactly where your water supply lines run in your home. If you attempt to do the job yourself, you could end up with large sections of walls, ceilings, and flooring torn out that should not have been and which will only add to your repair costs.

HVAC contractors standing against a truck

Professional plumbers have access to special equipment to determine the precise location of water supply lines. They also use the latest repiping methods to minimalize the amount of walls, ceilings, and flooring that needs to be removed.

Most importantly, any plumbing work you have done needs to be completed correctly and up to current building codes. This way, if you ever decide to sell your home, you can easily assure potential buyers all plumbing work was completed by a professional licensed and insured plumber.

For help finding the reasons for reduced hot water pressure and hot water heater problems in your home and having them fixed correctly, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing location in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or the Austin Metro Area today!

Household Plumbing Preventative Maintenance

Posted on March 1st, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

The plumbing in your home provides you and your family with fresh water to drink, hot water for showering and washing dishes, and more. Over time, plumbing problems can start to develop, such as leaks, clogs, and smelly kitchen drains. You can easily avoid most common household plumbing problems with regular plumbing preventative maintenance.

The types of maintenance you can do will depend on your DIY abilities. It is important to fully understand how to perform plumbing maintenance correctly to avoid causing unwanted damages to your water and drain lines. Some of the DIY preventative maintenance items you could do yourself include:

  • Preventing Drain Clogs
  • Fixing Dripping and Leaking Faucets
  • Maintaining Your Water Heater
  • Winterizing Your Pipes

In addition to DIY plumbing preventative maintenance, there are other plumbing maintenance items you should leave to professional plumbers to help keep your home’s plumbing working correctly. To learn more about these things, as well as other plumbing items to keep an eye on, we invite you to continue reviewing the following infographic.

If you have further questions, need help with your household plumbing preventative maintenance, or have a plumbing problem you need to have fixed, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing location in Temple, New Braunfels, San Antonio, or the Austin Metro Area today!

Household Plumbing Preventative Maintenance Infographic

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How Fast Should Tap Water Be Heating?

Posted on February 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

If you’ve ever stepped into the shower expecting it to be hot and comforting, only to be met with lukewarm or even cold water, you understand how annoying it can be! You might find that you must turn your dial hotter and hotter all the time just to get the temperature warm enough to take a relaxing shower.

If someone else beat you to your morning shower, you might also have to deal with all the hot water being “gone.” As you might expect, water heater problems are anything but fun.

To figure out how much water you have left after someone else in your house takes a shower, there’s a simple math equation you can follow—but you shouldn’t have to stand in your bathroom solving equations every morning.

What’s more important is the capacity of your tank, the available gallons of hot water, and the type of heater you have.

stylish chrome modern bathroom tap

Type of Heater and Tank Capacity

There are several different types of heaters that can affect how long it takes for your water to be heating up. It’s important to know the size of your water heater when it comes to figuring out how much water will be available to you. During your water heater installation, make sure your water heater service provider gives you this information. They vary in size, but the most common is 40 gallons. If you have a larger heater, it will take longer for the water to warm up.

Assuming you have a 40-gallon tank, let’s look at some of the different types:

  • Gas heater: 30-40 minutes
  • Electric heater: 60-90 minutes
  • Solar heater: 60-90 minutes if connected to an electric heater

How to Fix Slow-Heating Water

If it seems to be taking an unusually long time for your water to heat up, the best thing you can do is to contact a 24-hour plumber. Water heater problems aren’t uncommon, and some of them can be fixed quickly.

There are a few things you can do on your own to try reducing the time it takes for your water to get warm. One of the easiest things is to make sure your showerhead flow rate isn’t too low. The lower the flow rate, the longer it will take for the water to heat up.

Other common problems include things like your water heater being far away from the shower itself, the pipes being too small, or you could simply have a water heater in need of repair or replacement.

When Is It Time to Repair/Replace My Water Heater?

As stated above, there are many instances in which water heater problems can be fixed with the help of a licensed plumber, but if you’re continuously putting money into a faulty heater and not getting better results, it could be time to replace the water heater. Take these telltale signs into account if you’re wondering whether you need a new water heater:

  • Age: Most hot water heaters have a lifespan of 8-10 years
  • Rust on the tank
  • Strange noises
  • Leaking

If you simply have an insufficient tank size for your needs, you might also want to consider replacing your hot water heater. It should be able to provide daily hot water for you and your family without having to bargain for shorter showers.

Choosing the Best Replacement

One of the best options for replacing your hot water heater is to try a tankless water heater. These heaters are still relatively new, but, because water isn’t being stored in a large tank, it takes virtually no time to heat up. Essentially, you and your family can enjoy unlimited hot water.

Still, traditional hot water heater models shouldn’t be forgotten. It all depends on your individual needs, your budget, and what you should expect from a hot water heater.

If you have questions about your hot water heater, or you’re wondering about installation or repairs, please contact us at Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our experienced plumbers will work with you, providing all the information you need about the best options for your existing water heater, including whether it’s time to replace it.

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How to Meet Your Home Renovation Goals on a Budget

Posted on February 21st, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Whether you enjoy restoring old homes or are looking to update the look and appearance of your home, deciding how to meet your home renovation goals on a budget can be challenging. Do you start with a bathroom remodel or a kitchen remodel? Should you focus on a new and more energy-efficient heating and air conditioning installation?

Before you start knocking down walls or removing fixtures and cabinets, let’s take a look at some great tips and advice to help you accomplish your renovation goals and still stay on budget!

Step 1: Establish a Budget

The first and most important step is to determine how much you want to invest in home renovations. Knowing how much money you have to work with will help determine what you can and cannot afford. Plus, it will let you know if you may need to save up a little more before starting your renovations.

Step 2: Prioritize Your Renovations

Take a moment and decide which renovations are the most important. The best way to do this is to write down all the renovations you would like to make to your home. Once you have your list, number the renovations, with number one being at the top of your list.

Step 3: Take Advantage of Free Advice from Experts

You can frequently find a variety of home renovation experts who offer free consultations to discuss your home renovation needs. It never hurts to get some input and advice from these experts, as they may point out certain things you may have overlooked.

Step 4: Create, Design, and Plan the Renovation

You know what renovations you want to make to your home. Prior to starting any work, you should transform your ideas and put them on paper. Having a design for your project will make it easier to know which materials and supplies are required.

hands of handyman with tools

Step 5: Make a List of Supplies and Materials

Part of knowing if you are on target with your budget is knowing which supplies and materials you will require. Once you have your list, then you can start getting prices so you can determine how much everything is going to cost.

Step 6: Determine Your DIY Abilities and Skills

One great way to stretch your budget further is when you can do some of the renovation work yourself. Not everyone is cut out to do all types of DIY renovations. Sure, those home renovation programs make it look easy, but there are often certain parts of the work that you never see on TV.

Start by being honest about your abilities and skills. Then go down your list of renovations and decide which parts of the job you can do yourself. For instance, with a bathroom remodel, you probably can handle painting the walls and resurfacing (repainting) your cabinets. However, when it comes to installing a new shower or tub or sink, these are often better left to a professional to provide expert plumbing services.

Step 7: Utilize Your Friends’ and Family’s DIY Abilities and Skills

It never hurts to ask friends or family that have abilities or skills in different areas to help with your home renovation projects. For instance, your brother-in-law may be great at installing new flooring. Just remember to thank anyone who helps by feeding them or offering to pay them for their assistance.

Step 8: Recycle, Repurpose, and Reuse

Anything you can recycle, repurpose, and reuse will help reduce your renovation costs. Think about how you could transform an existing object into something else that would work with your new room design. For example, if you have a huge single mirror in the bathroom, you could repurpose it into several smaller mirrors by having the mirror professionally cut into new shapes and sizes.

Step 9: Tackle One Renovation at a Time

It can be tempting to want to renovate your entire home from top to bottom as one big project. Doing so is never a good idea, as it can turn your home upside down. Every room will be torn apart at some various stage of renovation. It is better to pick one room, fully renovate it first, and then move on to the next room.

Step 10: Know When to Call in the Professionals

If you reach a point where you are stuck because something is beyond your abilities or there’s something you simply do not want to do, get help from a professional. It is better to utilize professionals at the right stages of your project to keep it on track and have the work completed right the first time. It could cost you more to have a professional come in later and fix something you tried to do unsuccessfully.

plumbing rough in for bathroom remodel

Other Considerations While Renovating Your Home

If you are removing drywall, parts of the ceiling, or other areas that expose ductwork, plumbing, or electrical wiring, you will want to take advantage of this access during your renovation. For example, if you have older plumbing lines, you may want to schedule repiping plumbing services. Replacing the lines now will prevent having to tear everything back out later to resolve a water leak or another plumbing issue.

Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling Tips on a Budget

You can have a great-looking kitchen and bathroom without having to break the bank, by using these tips:

  • Check out high-quality vinyl flooring. You might be surprised to find vinyl flooring that looks and feels like hardwood or ceramic tiles for much less. Modern vinyl flooring comes in small sections, which make it easy to install. You could even use it on your walls for a modern and trendy appearance.
  • See if your cabinet and countertop supplier has overstocked items. Sometimes you can find that your supplier ordered cabinets and countertops for someone else and had extra materials left over after their project. In some cases, the person may have decided on a different color or style afterward. Most suppliers want to get rid of these if they can, so you could get a decent discount by shopping for these types of bargains.
  • See if your plumber has any overstocked fixtures and faucets. Just like cabinets and countertops, sometimes your plumber will have extra fixtures and faucets left over from a previous renovation project.
  • Reuse your existing cabinetry. If your current cabinets are in great shape, reuse them. You can paint them a different color or sand them and stain them a new color. If your cabinets need to be replaced, but the doors are still in decent shape, you can save some money by reusing the existing doors.

When New Heating and Air Conditioning Installation Should Be Your Top Priority

Even though you may have a long list of home renovations you want to complete, you need to know when a new heating and air conditioning installation should come first. Ask yourself the following questions:

plumber repairs furnace

  • How old is your current system? If your current system is 15 years or older, its useful lifespan is coming to an end. It may last another couple years. To avoid an unexpected system failure, it might be more worthwhile to get a new HVAC installed before tackling other home renovation projects.
  • Do your energy bills continue to increase? If you notice your energy bills are going up month over month or year over year, you may want to replace your HVAC system. As systems age, even with the proper maintenance and repairs, they will gradually start to use more energy to function correctly. Cutting your energy costs with a new system will help give you extra money to start setting aside for other home renovations.
  • How often do you need HVAC maintenance and repair services? If your HVAC technician is visiting your home on a monthly or more frequent basis for maintenance and repairs, you will want to consider getting a new system installed. In the long run, you could end up spending more to attempt to keep your current system running a few more years than to have it replaced now.

As you can see, undertaking home renovations when you are on a budget does require you to decide what is most important for you and your family. Making sure you are cool and comfortable during the hot summer can be a higher priority than renovating your kitchen or bathroom.

For professional advice and assistance with home renovation plumbing services and repairs, as well as HVAC maintenance, repairs, and new heating and air conditioning installations, please feel free to contact the skilled plumbers and HVAC technicians at Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We have been helping homeowners in Austin Metro, San Antonia, New Braunfels, Temple, and the surrounding areas with their plumbing and heating and cooling needs since 1950.

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