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Water Filtration Options for Your Home

Posted on August 28th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Do you know what’s in your water? There’s no denying that clean water is essential for the health of you and your family, but the reality is that most people simply don’t know what they’re drinking. The composition and safety of water in America varies significantly from city to city and county to county. Although your water might be technically fit for consumption, it can still include:

  • Bacteria and microorganisms
  • High levels of chlorine
  • Heavy metals
  • Radon
  • Sediment and particulates

… as well as unpleasant tastes and smells.

Since bottled water is expensive, environmentally unfriendly, and highly inconvenient, most people turn to water filtration for a constant supply of safe water. With so many different water filtration options out there, which should you choose for your home?

The answer largely depends on what water additives concern you the most, where your water supply is coming from, where you’d like to put your system, and how much time, money, and effort you’re prepared to spend on maintenance.

This handy guide will give you an overview of the most widely available and trusted options. If you need help to make the right decision for your home, keep reading or call our experts at (512) 246-5400 today!

Water Filtration Options for Your Home Infographic

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Six Tips for Plumbing Installation in Your New Home

Posted on August 28th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

If you are building a brand new house or planning a major renovation project for an older home, you will want to take the time to think about the plumbing installation in the home. The placement of fresh water supply lines, sewer and drain pipes, and plumbing vents should be installed in the right locations with the shortest distances possible.

If you have a large home, the farther water connections are from the main supply line, the lower the pressure can be. Since it can be difficult to know if you will have sufficient water pressure post-construction or post-renovation, it is a good idea to have a water pressure regulator installed at the same time.

The water pressure regulator will allow you to adjust water pressure levels to address any potential issues with low water pressure without having to re-plumb the lines a second time. A word of caution with water pressure regulators: Always have your plumber make adjustments to avoid setting the pressure too high and damaging faucets and water-type appliances.

Plumbing equipment on wooden background.

Aside from having a water pressure regulator installed, here are six more great tips and ideas you will want to incorporate into your new plumbing installation for your home.

1. Include plenty of shut-off valves in the right locations.

Plumbing problems will be the last thing on your mind when installing a new plumbing system in your home. Yet, over time, plumbing problems can and do develop—like water leaks. To make it easier to fix future plumbing problems, you will want to make sure each individual connection has its own shut-off valve.

Shut-off valves will allow you to shut the water off to the affected part of the system without having to shut off the water main. For instance, you will shut off valves under each sink for both the hot and cold water lines. You will also want shut-off valves placed in an easily accessible area for bathtubs, showers, and toilets.

Additionally, when the water company or your plumbing services company is connecting to the water main, make sure you have them install the water main shut-off valve in an accessible location. For example, it is better to place the water main shut-off inside your garage than in the crawl space, where it can be difficult to reach in a plumbing emergency.

2. Think about your present and future plumbing needs.

While you will want plumbing, sewer, and drain lines installed in bathrooms, the kitchen, and the laundry room, there can be other future needs you may be overlooking. Incorporating these now when the plumbing system is easily accessible will save you time and money down the road.

For instance, you will want your plumbing to add water softener plumbing connections even if you do not plan on installing a water softener presently. A good location is in a garage, laundry room, basement, or another accessible area that can accommodate a water softener system.

3. Don’t overlook your outdoor plumbing installation needs.

One area of the home many people forget about when designing a new plumbing system for their homes is the outdoors. You will want to have plenty of outdoor plumbing faucet connections around the home. As a minimum recommendation, have one outdoor faucet connection installed on each side of the home.

One other great future plumbing option you might want to have installed now would be the connections for an outdoor kitchen. Down the road, you might decide to enclose your deck or patio and build an outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill.

Lastly, don’t forget about an in-ground pool and in-ground water sprinklers. These things may not be in your current budget, but you never know if down the road you might want them. Your plumber can run connections for the water supply lines now so you will be all set later. One benefit of installing outdoor connections like these is that they can be a selling point in the future, should you decide to move.

4. Decide on what plumbing installation the kitchen will need.

The kitchen is the heart of most people’s homes. You want to have water and drain lines for the kitchen sink, dishwasher, and refrigerator. If your kitchen design includes an island, you may want plumbing lines run now so you could add a sink to the island later if you are not installing one now.

The placement of your dishwasher should be in a location near one of the kitchen sinks. Doing so will make installation much easier. However, if you have a specific kitchen design where the dishwasher is in a location far from a sink, you could certainly have your plumbing services company install separate hot water and drain lines.

5. Decide on what plumbing lines the bathrooms will need.

It is best to evaluate each bathroom individually. While many of your plumbing system needs will be the same, like bathroom sinks and toilets, others can vary. For instance, in the master bathroom, you may want a stand-alone shower and a garden-style Jacuzzi tub. You will also want to think about the number of showerheads you want, as many modern showers have multiple showerheads.

6. Don’t forget about the laundry room.

construction plumber installing bathroom fixtures
Your washer connections need to be in the right location. If you have a front-load washer and dryer setup, the washer door swing is normally to the left and the dryer door swing to the right. As such, you would want the washer connections on the left side of the wall. Some people also run plumbing lines for a laundry room utility sink.

One More Essential Plumbing Installation Consideration

In addition to the six primary areas of the home, there is one more essential plumbing item you will need to decide on: The type of water heater you want in your home. Your available options are choosing between tank-based and tankless water heater installation.

You will want tank-based systems installed in an accessible location that can accommodate the size of the water heater. There should be a drain pan and drain line installed as a safety precaution. You may also need to have the water heater installed near the furnace if you have a water recirculating heating system.

With a tankless water heater installation, you have a bit more flexibility in the placement of the water heater. You could have individual water heaters installed in each area of the home where you need hot water. For example, you could have one heater in each bathroom, another in the kitchen, and another unit in the laundry room.

Construction: Homeowners Excited to Look at Plans

This type of setup is ideal in homes that want tankless heaters and use a lot of hot water. This setup is also great if you want to run multiple hot water lines simultaneously, like running the dishwasher while taking a shower.

There is a third option as well. Some people opt for a tank-based water heater to address most hot water needs in the home, and a stand-alone tankless heater for one specific area of the home. For instance, you may want a stand-alone tankless water heater in the master bathroom for filling up that garden-style Jacuzzi tub for a nice and relaxing soak after a long day at work.

No matter what you decide for your home’s plumbing system design, just remember to make sure you have met all of your plumbing needs. Otherwise, it can be quite costly to have new plumbing lines and drain lines installed later since the lines are no longer easily accessible.

For help with designing the plumbing system for your new home, along with experienced plumbing installation services, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in San Antonio, Austin Metro, New Braunfels, or Temple today! We can also take care of your central heating and AC installation needs.

Most Common Dishwasher Installation Kitchen Plumbing Problems

Posted on August 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

If you are tired of doing dishes by hand, are looking to conserve water, or need dishwasher replacement, you need to be aware of some of the most common dishwasher installation kitchen plumbing problems people can have when attempting to do the install as a DIY project. Let’s take a look at both adding a dishwasher and replacing a dishwasher, and the problems you could encounter.

Adding a Built-In Dishwasher to Your Kitchen

If your home doesn’t currently have a dishwasher, you will need to find a location to install it. The location needs to be next to the kitchen sink since dishwashers are connected directly to the kitchen sink plumbing.

Broken Dishwasher being repaired

The space also needs to be deep enough to leave sufficient room for the hot water intake and drain lines and electrical wiring. In addition to space and location considerations, plumbing problems you could face may include:

  1. Breaking the existing drain line and hot water line. You will need to split the drain line and hot water line to install a new dishwasher. During this process, some people accidentally break the lines and damage them, resulting in further plumbing repairs.
  2. Leaks from the drain line and hot water line. If you do not correctly connect the dishwasher drain line and hot water line, you may discover water leaking from under the dishwasher or from under the sink.
  3. Using the wrong size drain pipe. Another issue has to do with the size of the drain pipe. There are special kitchen sink drain pipes that come pre-tapped for dishwasher hookup. All you have to do is replace the existing drain pipe with the new one. Kitchen sink drain pipes do come in different sizes to accommodate different types of sinks and dishwasher models.
  4. Forgetting to purchase the dishwasher installation kit. Most modern dishwashers require you to purchase a separate installation kit. The installation kit has the connectors and other essential hardware required to connect the dishwasher drain and hot water lines.
  5. Not installing a shutoff valve to the dishwasher. When tapping into the existing hot water line, you want to make sure to also install a shutoff valve in the right location.

Replacing an Existing Dishwasher

If you are replacing an existing dishwasher, you can still encounter various plumbing problems if you attempt to remove and install the dishwasher yourself. Some of the more common ones include:

Techniker repariert den Geschirrspüler

  1. Forgetting to shut off the water. You would be surprised by how many people make this mistake. They assume since the dishwasher is not running, the water is shut off.
  2. Not purchasing the dishwasher installation kit. You may think you already have everything you need for your new dishwasher install. However, what you may not know is you still need the kit that goes with your new dishwasher as intake, connection sizes change.
  3. Not replacing the drain line. When installing a new dishwasher, it is a good idea to also replace the drain line. Your old one could have gunk, grease, and other gross stuff in it that could lead to a clog later.
  4. Breaking the hot water line. You have to be careful when disconnecting and reconnecting the hot water line. If you are too rough on the line, you could break it.
  5. Leaks from the drain line and hot water line. If you do not connect the drain line and hot water line correctly, leaks can occur underneath the dishwasher and under the sink.

While installing a dishwasher might not seem that difficult, it is often a task best left to a professional dishwasher and kitchen sink plumber. Doing so helps you avoid all these plumbing problems and ensures your new dishwasher is installed correctly.

For help installing your new dishwasher in the San Antonio, Austin Metro, New Braunfels, or Temple areas, please feel free to call your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location today!

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What Does a Sewer System Camera Inspection Entail?

Posted on August 2nd, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

When you notice you have a sewer line problem and you will need sewer repair service from your local plumbing company, the first thing you will want to do is schedule a sewer system camera inspection. This is a low-cost solution to finding out exactly where in the sewer line the problem is located.

In the past, before this latest technological advance, you would have to run pipe snakes down drain lines and sewer lines and hope the problem was resolved. For major blockages and broken sewer lines, you would have had to dig a huge trench in the yard for full access to the entire sewer line to fix the problem.


The Sewer System Camera Inspection Basics

A sewer system camera inspection is where your plumber uses a waterproof camera system to find the location of sewer line problems. The camera is connected to a long cable. The cable is then connected to a video display unit.

The camera and cable are slowly pushed down the drain line or sewer line. The plumber watches on the monitor to determine if there is a problem. The plumber can use the camera to inspect drain lines from the shower, bathtub, sinks, and toilets.

Checking clogged toilet pipe with inspection camera.

When a problem is discovered, the plumber relies on the transmitter inside the camera. The transmitter lets your plumber know where the camera is located inside the sewer or drain line. This makes finding the location of problems easier and much faster than traditional methods.

Your plumber can also inspect the main sewer line—the large sewer pipe—that runs under the home and is connected to the city sewer line or your septic tank sewer line. In addition, they can open the overflow sewer pipe cap to access the sewer lines in your yard.


What Is a Sewer System Camera Inspection Used For?

A sewer system camera inspection is used to help identify and locate sewer line problems. Having an inspection performed will let your plumber know exactly where the problem is in the sewer and drain pipes.

Some of the more common reasons homeowners will schedule a camera inspection of their sewer lines could include:

  • Water drains slowly down the sink, tub, or shower drains.
  • There is a gurgling sound coming from the toilet or other drains in the home when water is off.
  • There is raw sewage coming up the drain lines into the home.
  • Water does not drain down one or more drains in the home.
  • Flushing the toilet causes water to come back up sinks, tubs, or showers.
  • Running water in the tub, shower, or sinks in the home results in water coming up in the toilet.
  • There are strange and foul smells coming from tub, shower, and sink drains.
  • Your yard is constantly wet even when it is dry outside.

Another reason people will get a sewer camera inspection is when they are getting ready to sell their house or buy a new home. An inspection before listing the home will let potential buyers know the status of the home’s drain and sewer lines. Plus, if there are any problems, you can have your local plumbing company fix them before buyers look at your home.

For home buyers, getting a sewer camera inspection is frequently overlooked. You are already paying to have other inspections performed in the home you want to buy. It just makes sense to also have your plumber do an inspection to ensure there are no sewer line problems before you close on the home.


What Can a Sewer System Camera Inspection Identify?

plumber sits next to the kitchen sink on the floor and looks at the tablet for repair instructions

A sewer drain and system camera inspection can help identify just about any type of sewer line problem. Some of the more common ones include:

  1. Finds and pinpoints the location of sewer and drain line leaks. Sometimes a leak can develop in the sewer and drain lines that run inside the walls of your home. Pinpointing the exact location of the leak will mean minimal removal of drywall to access the drain lines.
  2. Locates blockages inside the drain and sewer lines. Over time, hair, soap scum, and other things we put down our drain and sewer lines can get stuck and create a blockage. The camera helps find where the blockage is located so it can be fully removed.
  3. Helps determine the condition of your drain and sewer lines. A camera inspection lets you know how much “gunk” has accumulated on the inside of the plumbing lines. Depending on the extent of “gunk,” you can decide if you want your plumber to do a drain and sewer cleaning service to remove the buildup.
  4. Identifies bulging and sagging drain and sewer lines. Sometimes certain types of drain and sewer pipes can bulge and expand or contract and sag. Both types of problems can cause repeated sewer line problems.
  5. Helps find collapsed, damaged, and broken sewer lines. The sewer lines in your yard can collapse, break, and get damaged from tree roots, accidentally hitting the lines when digging, and other such things. A camera inspection determines where in the line the problem is located so your entire yard does not have to be dug up.


How Is a Sewer System Camera Inspection Performed?

Your local plumber will set up the camera inspection equipment in the location where you are experiencing the sewer line problem. They will push the pipe down the drain line until they find the location of the problem. Once the problem is located, they use the transmitter inside the camera to determine exactly where it is located inside the home.

Next, they mark the location where they need access. If they need to remove drywall, they will ask you to move furniture and other things out of the way first. Then they cover the floor and other nearby items before cutting into and removing the drywall.

If the entire home is affected, then your plumber will start in one area of the home and inspect each of the branching lines that connect to the main sewer line under the home. It is not uncommon for there to be multiple sewer and drain line problems if the sewer and drain lines have never been cleaned.

If none of the branches have any problems, then your plumber inspects the main sewer line. If the problem still has not been located, the final part of the inspection is to run the camera down the exterior sewer lines.


What if the Camera Inspection Finds a Collapsed or Damaged Sewer Line?

plumber using a sewer camera for inspections

In the past, fixing a collapsed or damaged sewer line could require digging up the entire yard to replace the sewer line. Thanks to advances in sewer drain line repair, your plumber might be able to do a trenchless sewer line repair to fix the problem.

A trenchless repair requires digging up a few small holes in the yard to provide access to the sewer line. The new replacement sewer line is fed through the existing line. As it is pushed or pulled through, it creates a new sewer line to fix any problems.

If the sewer line has collapsed, your plumber will dig up that location, and then remove the collapsed section of the sewer line before the new sewer pipe is passed through the existing line. However, please keep in mind that if there is significant damage or the collapsed section is rather large, then you may have to use traditional sewer line repair to fix the problem.

Can’t I Just Do a “DIY” Sewer System Camera Inspection?

While there are “DIY” plumbing cameras you can find at your local home improvement and repair stores, they are not of the same quality as the one used by your local plumbing company. The cameras sold at retailers only allow you to view a few feet inside the drain and sewer lines.

Not to mention, most do not have infrared, auto-brightness adjustment, and auto-focusing to give you a clear picture of what is going on. To get the high-quality system your plumber uses, you can easily spend around $20,000.

This is why it is more cost-effective to just have your plumber perform the inspection for you. You are more than welcome to watch the camera feed on the video display while your plumber conducts the inspection.

If you have noticed a sewer line problem or are getting ready to buy or sell a home, you cannot go wrong with a detailed sewer system camera inspection. If you live in the Austin Metro, San Antonio, Temple, or New Braunfels and surrounding areas, please feel free to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing to schedule a comprehensive sewer drain line camera inspection for your home.

Why Is My Toilet Leaking?

Posted on July 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

While there are some bathroom plumbing issues that can be relatively easy to fix on your own, you probably don’t want to make a DIY project out of a leaking toilet or clogged toilet. It’s not necessarily an uncommon problem for a homeowner, but it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored for long.

Some problems with your toilet might be easy fixes, but they can turn into bigger problems when they aren’t taken care of quickly.

The best thing you can do is to call a licensed plumber who can not only identify the underlying cause of your leaking toilet but can fix it right away and help you to avoid future plumbing and piping headaches.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few possible causes for a leaky or clogged toilet.


Problems in the Toilet Tank

home bathroom interior

Sometimes, opening up the tank and taking a look can be the easiest way for a plumber to determine the problem. There are a variety of different issues that can occur in a toilet tank, including potential cracks. If a tank is old or has been hit with some kind of impact, it could cause leaking through a crack. Even a hairline crack that is nearly impossible to see can cause significant leaking as the tank continues to refill.

If you do have a cracked tank, a toilet replacement is often your best solution.

You could also be dealing with a stuck flapper. Unlike a small fracture in the tank, this is a problem you’ll notice quickly. When the flapper in a toilet tank gets stuck, the flush handle typically remains in the “down” position. So, the tank will continue to fill up with water until it starts to overflow. This causes constant leakage that needs to be dealt with immediately, or you’ll end up losing a ton of water.

Flappers can also wear out over time and become inefficient. Regular plumbing maintenance can help to ensure your flapper is working properly.


Loose Connections

It’s not uncommon for parts to wear out over time or become damaged simply with regular use. Many parts used for your toilet have rubber linings that help to create a water-tight seal, but the rubber wears down and doesn’t last forever. When these connections become loose or damaged, you might start to experience leaks.

Additionally, the joints in the supply line can also become loose and cause leakage. You’ll start to notice water seeping through. It could simply be from regular wear and tear or from some type of damage to the joints or sewer line. Calling a plumber to replace or repair these parts, or simply to make sure everything is secure, can help to prevent those leaks from getting worse.


Problems with the Drain Line

bathroom having cleaned toilet bowl and sink

If you’re dealing with a clogged toilet on top of everything else, you might have a clogged drain line. This can be a problem especially if you live in an older house or you’ve never had a drain cleaning done.

Calling Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing for regular plumbing maintenance and to fix any leaks or clogs can help you rest assured that your toilet won’t be causing you any major problems. Unfortunately, many people ignore their toilets until there’s a problem. Even then, people are hesitant to call a plumber until that problem becomes bigger than it ever needed to be. If your toilet is leaking or clogged, don’t wait; get it fixed as soon as possible. Give our experienced team a call, and we’ll be there to solve the problem right away.

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Traditional vs. Trenchless Sewer Repair

Posted on July 9th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Just like any other piece of plumbing, sewer lines running to and from a property can fall into disrepair over time. Tree roots, earth movement, and corrosion all play a part in forming cracks and leakages and, without treatment, a broken pipe can quickly turn into a smelly, unhygienic, and damaging mess.

Unlike the regular plumbing in your home, however, main sewer lines are difficult to access and, therefore, much harder to repair. For a long time, the only way of locating and replacing the problem section would often require you to dig a trench and uncover the entire length of the pipe. In the process, this also means you would possibly have to:

  • Dig up large chunks of your garden.
  • Tear up parts of your concrete driveway and sidewalk.
  • Restrict access to a large, potentially hazardous area of your property.
  • Shut down traffic to the road.
  • Obtain time-consuming and expensive permits to dig and disrupt traffic.

Trenchless sewer repair provides a solution to many of the problems that the traditional method faces. For both of the main trenchless repair techniques—pipe bursting and pipe lining—the access required to the pipe is minimal, and an entire sewer line can be replaced without ruining your home and garden.

That isn’t the only difference between the two approaches. To find out more about the advantages and costs of each, just check out this infographic. If you’re not sure which one’s right for you, call us at (512) 246-5400 for a free quote!

Traditional vs. Trenchless Sewer Repair Infographic

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New HVAC Installation: What Does a New HVAC System Include?

Posted on June 26th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

There are several different types of HVAC systems that you can choose from for a new HVAC installation at your home. The type of system you select will be based on several different factors. It is important to review each of these factors with your AC repair and installation technician to ensure the system you select is the best one for your home.

1. Size of Home

The size of your home will determine the size of the HVAC system. It is important to make sure the size of the unit is matched to the size of your home. You want the system to be able to meet your heating and cooling temperature preferences.

It is worth noting that getting a bigger HVAC system than you need is not going to provide any additional benefits. The system will still provide the same heating and cooling as a properly sized HVAC system. The only difference you will see is an increase in your energy bills from operating a larger system.

On the other hand, if the new HVAC system is too small to meet your heating and cooling needs, the system will run more often. On those hot Texas summer days, an undersized unit runs almost constantly to try to keep your home cooled.

Not only is this not very energy-efficient, but it also places a higher level of wear and tear on the system. Since the system runs more often, it will have a much shorter useful lifespan.

2. Duct or Ductless Home

Whether your home has existing air ducts or not is another factor you need to consider when selecting a new heating and cooling system. If your home already has existing ductwork, then you will want to choose a duct-based system.

If your home does not have ductwork, you can either choose a ductless HVAC system or have ducts installed. Just keep in mind that adding ductwork to your home will require you have sufficient space.

In addition, installing ductwork will require removing parts of the walls, flooring, and other areas of the home so it can be installed correctly. The costs of installing ductwork will also increase the total HVAC installation cost. This is why most people without ductwork in their homes will opt for a modern ductless HVAC system instead.

Air conditioner split type embed on wall of living room

3. Current System

Your current HVAC system does have some influence on what type of new system you will get. If you have a split system, then you may only need to have a new AC installation service to replace just the air conditioner. Conversely, you might only need heating installation if your furnace needs to be replaced but the air conditioner is still working.

Types of New HVAC Systems

There are five general types of new HVAC systems you can choose from for your new HVAC installation. Let’s take a look at each one and what is included with the system.

1. Packaged HVAC Systems

Packaged HVAC systems are quite common in Texas and most southern states. They combine your cooling and heating into a single unit that is installed on the exterior of the home. The system is a duct-type system that connects to the existing ductwork.

Common components found with a packaged HVAC system are:

  • Heating Unit: The heating unit can be either gas or electric.
  • Cooling Unit: The cooling unit is electric.
  • Blower Motor: The blower motor helps force the heated or cooled air into the air ducts and the home.

The primary benefit of a packaged HVAC system is that you do not need to worry about losing any indoor space for the system. With everything contained in a single unit outside the home, you will also notice the system doesn’t make as much noise as other types of HVAC systems.

2. Split HVAC System

A split HVAC system has the heating unit inside the house and the cooling unit outside the house. The air handler unit is also installed inside. Each unit is then connected together so that the air handler, blower motor, and ductwork can be shared between the two systems.

The heating unit of a split HVAC system can be either electric or gas. The cooling unit is electric. When you turn on the heat, just the furnace side of the system runs to heat the home. Alternatively, when you turn on the AC, just the AC unit runs to cool your home.

The main benefit of a split HVAC system is you do not have to replace both the furnace and air conditioner at the same time. If you need a new AC, you just replace either the AC unit or the furnace, if that needs to be replaced.

However, it can be beneficial to replace both the furnace and AC at the same time. If your current system is more than ten years old, there have been many energy-efficient improvements made on new complete split HVAC systems. Replacing both parts of the systems would allow you to enjoy these energy-saving features.

Heat pump on a residential home

3. Duct-Type Heat Pump System

A heat pump is similar to a packaged system since it can provide both heating and cooling functions in a single unit. Unlike a packaged system, there is an indoor air handling unit that contains the blower motor which is installed inside the home. A heat pump is also connected to existing ductwork inside the home.

4. Ductless Heat Pump System

Another type of heat pump system you could have installed is a ductless system. This system is well-suited for homes without existing air ducts. There is an outdoor unit that is connected to individual air handling units installed in each room of the home that you want to heat and cool.

One of the benefits of a ductless heat pump system is it allows you to set individual temperatures for each room. For instance, you could have it a bit cooler in the living room and a little warmer in the bedroom. Another benefit of a ductless heat pump system is it heats and cools the home without the need for a separate furnace.

5. Ductless Split and Mini-Split AC Systems

Ductless split and mini-split AC systems are also designed for homes without existing air ducts. The key difference between this type of system and a ductless heat pump system is it only cools the home. There is not a heating component in the system.

The AC installation features a cooling unit installed outside the home. The cooling unit is connected to individual air handler fan units installed on the ceiling or walls in individual rooms of the home. Just like a ductless heat pump system, you can set individual temperatures on each fan unit.

The Difference Between a Single and Multi-Stage HVAC System

If you have already spent some time shopping for a new HVAC system for your home, you probably encountered the option to choose a single or a multi-stage system. Single-stage systems operate the blower motor at a preset fan speed that remains the same during the entire heating or cooling cycle.

With a multi-stage HVAC system, the blower motor fan speed can operate at two different speeds. The system determines which speed is best depending on whether the system needs to operate at full or reduced speed.

A multi-stage system is designed to help reduce energy usage and save you money. For example, on a hot Texas summer day with temperatures blazing in the 100s, a multi-stage system would operate at full speed to keep your home cooled.

On a cooler summer day, when it is in the 80s, a multi-stage system would typically start the cooling cycle at full speed. Then it would step down to the lower speed during the cycle. During some cycles, the system may only operate at the lower speed, as when it needs to reduce the temperature in the home one or two degrees.

Dehumidifier and Humidifier HVAC Systems

Another option found on certain new HVAC systems is the inclusion of a built-in dehumidifier and humidifier. This option is beneficial when you live in very humid and very dry areas of the country. Here in Texas, it can get quite humid during the summertime.

If your new HVAC system has a built-in dehumidifier, it will remove the excess humidity from the inside of the home. This is in addition to the humidity the air conditioning unit removes during the cooling cycle.

The primary benefit of removing excess humidity from the air in summer is it will make the home feel much cooler. This allows you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher and save on your energy usage.

In the wintertime, when the air is dry and lacks humidity, having a built-in humidifier helps add humidity to the air. By adding humidity, it makes the home feel warmer. In addition, humidified warm air helps reduce dryness in the home and helps prevent the spread of germs and illnesses.

Portrait of air conditioning serviceman

Choosing the Best HVAC Installation for Your Home

You have a wide range of options when you need a new HVAC installation. The best place to start is with an HVAC inspection to determine which types of systems would be best for your home.

The inspection process reviews what size system your home requires and your desired heating and cooling needs. Your AC repair and installation technician also reviews whether you could benefit from a multi-stage system and/or a built-in dehumidifier and humidifier system.

To arrange an HVAC inspection or your home, request further information about new HVAC systems. To schedule AC repair or maintenance service, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location today!

We look forward to helping you select the best new HVAC system for your home. We service the Temple, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Austin Metro, and surrounding areas. We also offer 24/7 emergency HVAC service for those unexpected breakdowns.

Keeping Trees from Invading Your Sewer Lines

Posted on June 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Trees are a great way to add beauty and curb appeal to your yard, but even one tree can wreak havoc on your sewer systems. If they end up destroying your main line, you could end up with a costly sewer repair and an even bigger headache.

Sewer pipes are a gold mine for tree roots since they have a lot of water and other nutrients that trees need to grow and thrive. If there’s even the smallest crack or leak in a pipe, the roots can get into it and cause a huge problem.

So, what can you do to preserve the beauty of the trees in your yard while making sure you don’t need to call an emergency plumber if the roots start invading?

a grassy area with sunlight coming through the trees in bellingham

Know Where Your Lines Are

The best thing to do is to locate your sewer lines within your yard. You can go hunting on your own for cleanout caps, but the easiest way to do it is to call your local sewer department. They’ll send someone out to mark the locations of the lines for you. That will make it very easy to see whether or not they’re anywhere near a tree.

If you do have sewer lines next to a tree, call an experienced plumber immediately. Even if you’ve never seen any signs of trouble, a plumber can use a camera to determine whether roots have started to invade the sewer drain. Getting this kind of inspection before you see any problems can end up saving you a lot of money.

If you’ve already had issues with frequently clogged drains or slow-flowing water, and can’t figure out why, it’s even more crucial to check the pipes as soon as possible.

Removing Roots and Repairing Pipes

If the roots are, indeed, a problem to your plumbing, don’t worry! You can take active steps to get rid of them while preserving the life of the tree.

First, you’ll need to cut the roots away from the pipe. Again, this is something a professional should do so you don’t accidentally cause more damage to the pipe (or the tree). When the roots have been cut away from your sewer line, the next step is to use an herbicide that will help to temporarily stop the growth of the roots. This can be reapplied every few years.

Your line will also benefit from a sewer cleaning that will ensure everything is repaired properly and there is no other debris attached to the pipes.

Again, this process might seem like a lot, but it’s a lot less stressful and much less expensive than dealing with a broken sewer line due to tree roots.

pipe hose drain knob tube

Keeping Trees Away from the Sewer Line

You can take preventative measures to make sure any trees you plant in the future don’t affect your sewer lines. Smaller, slow-growing trees will always be a safer bet, while fast-growing trees with widespread root systems are more likely to cause problems. Try trees like Flowering Dogwood, Cypress, and Paperback Maple if you really want to plant near your sewer lines. They won’t be as big, and their root system will grow slowly.

Using different barriers can also be helpful. Metal or wood barriers can be buried beneath the pipes at a vertical angle. They will help to stop the roots from penetrating through the pipes.

If you have a tree planted anywhere near your sewer line and you’re worried about the roots causing a problem, don’t wait until you’re in an emergency situation! Give Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing a call and we’ll be happy to come out for a full inspection. It’s never a wrong time to schedule sewer line maintenance!

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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!

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