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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.

Tankless vs. Tank Water Heater: What’s the Difference?

Posted on February 13th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

The humble water heater is one of the most overlooked yet most critical features of any home. Even a few days without it—or with an inadequate hot water supply—can have a drastic effect on you and your family’s mood and health. Whether it’s a new unit or a replacement, choosing the right water heater is incredibly important.

There are two main types of water heaters that you’ll have to decide between: those with a tank and those without. The first heats up water before storing it, ready for use, while a tankless unit has no storage. Instead, it heats up the water instantly.

Both types have their pros and cons, and both types have greatly improved their energy-saving and water-heating technology in recent years. So, which one’s best for you? In this infographic showdown, we go through the differences—and help you make the right decision.

Tankless vs. Tank Water Heater Infographic

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7 Common Kitchen Renovation Mistakes to Prevent

Posted on January 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Is a kitchen renovation project one of the things you put on your 2019 New Year’s resolutions list? This can be a great project to complete to give you that dream kitchen you have always wanted and desired. In addition, should you ever decide to sell your home, a modern, updated kitchen with the latest “smart” appliances can boost the resale value of the house.

Before you get started on ripping out cabinets and countertops and starting your renovation, our kitchen sink and plumbing experts encourage you to review these seven common kitchen renovation mistakes first so you don’t make them.

1. Not having a plan that fully utilizes the space.

You need to sit down and carefully plan how you want to use every square inch of available space. It is best to start with a blank slate and not worry about the current kitchen layout. Don’t forget to think about how the placement of cabinets and appliances will affect your design. The last thing you want is to open a cabinet door or the refrigerator and find out it won’t open all the way.

diagonal split screen of drawing and photo of new kitchen

2. Not consulting with a professional.

Even if you are doing most of the work yourself, it never hurts to get input from a kitchen design professional. They can help you work out the small details and point out essential things you may have missed when you created your plan.

3. Not creating a budget for your project.

You will want to set a budget on how much you plan on spending for your kitchen renovation project. Without a budget, it is easy to spend way more than you intended. You could also run out of money long before your project is complete and not have a fully functional kitchen.

4. Not choosing appliances at the start.

If you wait until later in the project to choose appliances, they may not fit with your new cabinets and countertops. It is better to decide what new appliances you want and where you want them installed.

5. Not planning plenty of storage space.

It can be nice to have an “open” kitchen design, but where are you going to put dishes, glasses, cookware, and all your dry and canned foods? Make sure your design includes all the storage you require.

6. Not planning sufficient counter space.

Smiling plumber fixing faucet

If you have small appliances that take up counter space, make sure you include more so you have somewhere to prepare meals. If your kitchen is large enough, consider installing an island in the middle with a small sink, as this can provide the counter space you need.

7. Going the DIY route for every part of the renovation.

Doing a DIY kitchen renovation can help reduce how much your project will cost. However, you will want to enlist the help of certain professionals to avoid costly mistakes later. For instance, if you need to run new plumbing lines or install a new dishwasher, a sink, faucets, or a garbage disposal, it is better to hire a professional plumbing service to ensure everything is installed correctly and up to current building codes.

For assistance with all your kitchen renovation plumbing needs, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in San Antonia, New Braunfels, Temple, or the Austin Metro Area by calling us today!

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Bathroom Renovation: Dos and Don’ts

Posted on January 21st, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

When you’re thinking about home improvement projects, it’s often easy to ignore the bathroom in favor of other rooms. When you do choose to upgrade your bathroom, you might be surprised at how much more comfortable you are.

Whether you’re looking for more of a spa-like experience in your own home, you want more space in the bathroom, or you just want to renovate an old tub or plumbing fixtures, there are plenty of great reasons for a bathroom upgrade.

However, there are also several dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you go through your remodeling experience.

Do: Make a Plan Before Starting

white ceramic sink and natural light

One of the most important things you can do before you get started on a bathroom remodeling project is to make a detailed plan. Think about the things you want to do, how you want to accomplish them, and what the end result will be.

Your plan should also include any professional services you’ll need to hire. When it comes to things like bathroom plumbing, it’s always a good idea to get a professional on board, rather than doing it yourself.

A professional can do a plumbing inspection and give you more details on what your bathroom really needs from a safety and efficiency standpoint. Shower plumbing and faucet repairs should always be checked out by someone with experience in the industry. Remember, a bathroom upgrade is about more than just cosmetic renovations.

Do: Have a Flexible Budget

Part of your initial plan should include a budget. Planning for things like a bathtub installation or a toilet replacement is easy, but your budget should also be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected expenses.

Your plumbing may have more issues than you originally thought. Maybe there’s hidden water damage behind your shower wall that needs fixing. There are so many things that could throw a wrench in your budget if you’re not prepared ahead of time.

A good rule is to give yourself about a 10% “cushion” within your budget. If you don’t end up using it, you get to save that money and use it for something else!

Don’t: Replace Your Entire Toilet if You Don’t Need To

Toilets are often one of the biggest “problems” in bathrooms, but it’s for a variety of different reasons. It’s important to know what’s going on with your toilet and whether it can be fixed, or if it should be replaced.

Replacing a toilet entirely will be more costly than repairing it. If your problem is that your toilet is always running, it’s usually a quick fix that can be done by a professional. You should also opt for toilet repair if:

bathroom sink with mirror above and towels

  • It’s clogged
  • It doesn’t flush all the way
  • The toilet tank leaks
  • The toilet tank takes a long time to fill

Any of these problems should be able to be fixed by a professional plumber. So, when should you replace your toilet? A good rule of thumb is to replace it when the repairs start to add up, and you’re having to get it fixed all the time. The same problems over and over again could mean you need a newer model.

Do: Add Lots of Lighting

If you really want to have a spa-like experience at home, consider different levels of illumination throughout your bathroom. You should have more than just a ceiling fixture. In fact, if you only have light coming from the ceiling, it can cast shadows throughout the room, and you won’t get an accurate look at yourself when you’re standing in front of the vanity, etc.

Different levels of lighting in the bathroom can include things like sconces on both sides of your vanity, lights specifically focused on the toilet and shower, etc. Many people also enjoy dimmer switches in their bathroom because it allows them to set certain moods. For example, you can keep your lighting low at night and early in the morning to reflect a mood of tranquility as you prepare for your day or get ready for bed.

Don’t: Ignore Water Usage

Many standard plumbing fixtures are more water-efficient than ever before. Having low-flow faucets or toilets installed is a great way to help the environment and lower your water bill in the process.

Yet, if your dream bathroom includes things like “his and hers” shower heads, body sprays, and double sinks, you might need a plumbing upgrade. This kind of upgrade can end up costing thousands of dollars and, while it’s certainly not impossible, it’s something that should be considered before you start thinking about the various plumbing fixtures you’d like installed.

Another thing to take into consideration when you’re thinking about extra water usage is an upgrade to your water heater. Water heater installation can run around $1,000-$2,000, depending on the model you choose—there are some great energy-efficient options on the market.

So, again, don’t ignore how much water you might be using when you’re thinking about installing extra fixtures. If your plumbing needs an upgrade anyway, it could be the perfect time to really focus on those “dream fixtures” and get the shower you’ve always wanted. However, if your plumbing is already in good shape, you might want to hold off on getting several shower heads and streams for now.

big shower head

Do: Hire a Skilled Professional

Though we touched on the importance of using skilled professionals earlier in this article, it’s worth mentioning as a helpful tip that can save you time, money, and a lot of frustration when it comes to remodeling your bathroom.

While the “do it yourself” method might save you a few dollars, think about what has to go into a bathroom upgrade and the skills needed to make it look great and function properly. You don’t want to spend a fortune on shower tile, only to do a subpar tiling job on your own. If you make a mistake with your new plumbing fixtures, it could result in issues like water damage.

It’s worth it to work with professionals who have years of experience and who are exceptionally skilled in specific areas. A bathroom has many different components and might require you to work with several different professionals in those areas, but it’s worth it to remodel the room the right way in a shorter amount of time.

If you’re considering a bathroom upgrade and you need a new toilet, bathtub installation, or plumbing repairs, call Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400. Our bathroom plumbing services cover everything from leak repairs to complete drain cleaning and everything in between. We’ve been a trusted name in Texas since 1950 with builders and homeowners, and we’re happy to help you with your bathroom renovation project from start to finish.

5 Home Maintenance Tasks You’re Forgetting

Posted on December 24th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Owning a home isn’t as easy as it looks. If you want to keep it looking beautiful, avoid costly plumbing repairs, and have it increase in value every year, you’ve got to put it some hard work.

While some maintenance tasks like mowing the lawn and touching up the paintwork are obvious, there are plenty of others that most people neglect. Here are just five that could have a huge impact on your home.

plumber image

Look for Leaks

Think you’ll hear a leak before it becomes a problem? Think again. With pipes running through walls, under cabinets, and through the basement, a lot of damage can be done by leaking water unless you go looking for it specifically.

If you want to avoid mold, rot, mildew, and structural damage from termites and ants, then you should go around the house every month or so, looking for dark patches or pooled water where there shouldn’t be any. If you find something, get it fixed as soon as you can.

Care for the Foundations

A house is only as sturdy as its foundations, so it’s surprising how little attention is given to this area of the home. The key word here is drainage; there should be at least a three-degree slope (or six inches drop over ten feet of distance) away from the base of the house to ensure that water doesn’t pool over time. Check for this and any cracks or settling once or twice a year just to be sure.

Maintain Your Hot Water Heater

Rust, mineral build-up, electrical or gas faults—hot water systems seem to be a magnet for trouble, and there’s nothing worse than several days of unexpected cold showers. At a minimum, check for leaks, flush the tank, and test the pressure release valve periodically. If even that seems a little much, call up an expert plumber to help out.

Check Your Roof and Gutters

Inspecting damage and clearing debris from your roof and gutters have two vital functions. First, it means that water won’t leak into your home from clogged drains and cracked tiles. Second, dry leaves in the gutters and on the roof are a serious fire hazard and provide easy fuel for a house fire or wildfire nearby. You may not think it’ll happen to you, but it pays to be safe.Inspecting damage and clearing debris from your roof and gutters have two vital functions. First, it means that water won’t leak into your home from clogged drains and cracked tiles. Second, dry leaves in the gutters and on the roof are a serious fire hazard and provide easy fuel for a house fire or wildfire nearby. You may not think it’ll happen to you, but it pays to be safe.

man connecting electric wire

Swap Out Your HVAC Filter

Looking to save money on your power bill, breathe cleaner air, and avoid costly repairs? There’s one simple thing you can do: replace your HVAC filter. Dust, dirt, and all kinds of nasty allergens can clog these pretty quickly, so it really pays to change them once a season. Just make sure you turn off the system first and remember that, depending on the size of your home, you might have more than one filter to replace.

Need Plumbing Services? Leave It to the Experts

If you lead a busy life and don’t have time for maintenance, it’s time to put your checklist in the hands of the professionals. Serving Texans for almost 70 years, Christianson’s expert technicians will keep your home running just like it should, letting you relax and just enjoy it.

To get all your highly affordable plumbing and air conditioning needs met in one place, there’s only one name to turn to when it comes to HVAC: Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our 24-hour plumbers serve Austin, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Temple. Get in touch with us today and let us do the hard work for you!

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Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Replacement: Which Is More Efficient?

Posted on December 12th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Eventually, the water heater in your home will show signs that you will need a water heater replacement. Some of the more common signs it is time to start looking at new water heater models are if you notice any of the following:

  • Cracking and Popping Sounds
  • Water Leaks Around the Tank
  • Hot Water Not Hot
  • Rust on the Tank Bottom
  • Rust or Sediment in Hot Water
  • Water Heater Runs Almost Constantly
  • Water Heater Circuit Breaker Blows Frequently
  • Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit
  • Water Heater Is 10 Years or Older

Before scheduling new water heater installation, it is worthwhile to consider the advantages and disadvantages of gas and electric water heaters. While gas and electric water heaters both provide hot water for your home, one could be more efficient than the other.

Water Heater Types

Before reviewing the pros and cons of gas vs. electric water heaters, you need to know what type of water heater you want to be installed. The two most common types are storage tank water heaters and tankless (“on demand”) water heaters. There are also solar powered, heat pump, and condensing models. For our purposes, we will be looking at storage tank and tankless models.

plumber holding clipboard and pen

How Water Is Heated

With storage tank water heaters, the water is heated and stored inside the tank. There is standby heat loss which occurs, so the tank will run periodically to reheat the water to the preset temperature level. With tankless water heaters, the hot water is heated when it is required.

There are both electric storage tank and tankless water heaters. Electricity heats up a heating coil to create the hot water. In storage tank heaters, there are normally two coils—one at the top of the tank and one at the bottom—for more even water heating.

There are also both gas storage tank and tankless water heaters. Natural gas is used to heat up the water in a storage tank or as it flows through a tankless water heater. Gas heaters will either have a pilot light that remains lit all the time or an electric ignition to start the flames required to heat the hot water.

Pros of Gas Water Heaters

  • A gas water heater can heat cold water much faster.
  • It only takes about 60 minutes to heat up 50 gallons of hot water in a storage tank.
  • Gas storage tank heaters have a faster recovery rate.
  • Gas water heaters are better suited for families of four or more people.
  • Some models may still work even during power outages.
  • The cost of natural gas can be much less than electricity.

Cons of Gas Water Heaters

  • Gas water heaters are less energy efficient.
  • There is more heat loss with a gas water heater.
  • Water heater installation can be more complex.
  • They require the tank be connected to a natural gas line or tank.

Pros of Electric Water Heaters

  • Electric water heaters are more energy efficient.
  • There is less heat loss with an electric water heater.
  • They can be easier to install.
  • They do not require a home to have access to a natural gas line or tank.
  • They can be easier to repair and maintain.

Cons of Electric Water Heaters

  • Electric storage tank heaters have a much slower recovery rate.
  • It can take several hours to heat up 50 gallons of hot water.
  • Electric water heaters will not work if the power goes out.
  • Electric water heaters may not meet a family’s hot water demands.
  • The electricity needed to heat hot water can cost more than natural gas.

Which Is Better for My Home?

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both gas and electric water heaters. While a gas water heater is less energy efficient, it does heat hot water faster. Plus, the costs for natural gas are typically less than electricity, so you could end up coming out ahead with a gas water heater.

On the other hand, even though an electric model may take longer to heat hot water up, it is not as prone to excess heat loss like gas heaters. Gas heaters lose some of their heat from the exhaust fumes that have to be vented out of the home. Not to mention, if there is an unexpected hike in natural gas rates, electricity rates could end up being less.

It really comes down to deciding which type of water heater installation will best meet your home’s hot water demands. Additionally, it depends on whether you have access to a natural gas line. If your home is not connected to natural gas, then getting a gas water heater will have added installation costs to run a natural gas line.

electric water heater tank

What You Need to Know about Hot Water Recovery Rates

The hot water recovery rates of water heaters have to do with how fast the water heater can make more hot water. If your household uses a large amount of hot water at the same time each day, then you will want to look at models that have a much higher hot water recovery rate.

You should also take into account the FHR. On storage tank models, it is common to find a “first-hour rating” or FHR. What this rating tells you is how much hot water the tank can provide continuously for one hour.

For example, you are looking at a 50-gallon water heater that has an FHR of 25 gallons. If you use more than 25 gallons of hot water in one hour, the water heater will not be able to meet your hot water demands. Contrarily, if you find a tank with a 40 FHR, but you only use 20 gallons of hot water in a typical hour, then the tank may not be the most efficient for your home.

Storage Tank or Tankless Water Heaters?

Choosing which water heater installation you need also requires you to decide between storage tank and tankless models. Storage tank water heaters are better suited for homes that have a higher hot water demand all at the same time. Tankless water heaters are not able to easily keep up with hot water demands when it is needed in multiple places simultaneously.

For example, you like to run the dishwasher while doing laundry and giving your kids their evening baths. In this situation, your home would benefit from a storage tank water heater to ensure you had plenty of hot water.

Conversely, if you only use cold water to do laundry, start the dishwasher before going to bed, and only need hot water to bathe your kids, then a tankless heater might be able to meet your hot water demands.

While tankless water heaters are much more energy efficient than storage tank water heaters, they do cost more upfront to get installed. However, they tend to last much longer. So the initial upfront costs could easily end up being less in the long run if you had to replace a storage tank heater two or three times over the lifespan of a tankless water heater.

Other Things to Make Water Heaters More Energy Efficient

If you are looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of your water heater and lower your hot water heating costs, there are several things you can do, as follows:

install water heater

  • Insulate Storage Tank Heaters: Insulating the storage tank will help reduce heat loss and keep more heat inside the tank.
  • Insulate Hot Water Pipes: Heat loss occurs through hot water plumbing, and insulation will help. Insulation can also help provide hot water faster, which saves water.
  • Install Low Flow Faucets and Fixtures: Lowering the amount of hot water you use will save on hot water heating and water bills.
  • Turn Down the Thermostat on Storage Tank Heaters: Lowering the setting a few degrees will lower your water heating bills.
  • Buy an Energy Star® Water Heater Replacement: Energy Star® water heaters are more energy efficient than standard models without this rating.
  • Schedule Annual Water Heater Service: To make sure your water heater is operating at its optimal level, regular annual maintenance is necessary.

Do not hesitate to contact the plumbing and hot water heater replacement experts at your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location if you have further questions about what type of water heater is best for your home or for help figuring out your home’s hot water demands.

We are happy to lend our expertise and advice to help you choose the best water heater for your home in New Braunfels, San Antonio, Temple, or the Austin Metro Area. Call us today!

How to Prevent Damage from Frozen Pipes

Posted on November 27th, 2018 by ChristainSon_Admin

Freezing can cause water pipes to suddenly burst. Water within a pipe expands when it turns to ice, eventually causing the pipe to burst, which can lead to extensive water damage in your home. Call a 24-hour plumber immediately to resolve potential problems, before your home floods and you experience major losses.

The temperature threshold for pipe freezing is 20°F, according to the Building Research Council,1 although you want to keep your home above the freezing point, which is 32°F. One of the greatest risks of property damage in low temperatures, burst pipes often occur in basements. About 37 percent of all pipe failures happen in a basement, and a water pipe burst typically causes $5,000 in water damage. By comparison, pipe insulation, which can prevent pipe freezing, costs as little as $0.50 per linear foot.1

Why Do Pipes Freeze?

The simplest answer is that water expands as it turns to ice. The pressure it can exert on a conduit such as a pipe is quite strong. Pipes most susceptible to freezing include those exposed to outdoor temperatures, located near uninsulated exterior walls and in basements, attics, garages, and other unheated interior spaces.

Pipes don’t usually break exactly where an ice blockage forms. One can imagine the radial expansion of ice pushing against the pipe walls, causing them to crack, but that’s not often the case. Freezing and expansion dramatically increase the water pressure between the blockage and a closed faucet. A burst tends to happen somewhere along that length of pipe, often where there is little or no ice.

burst pipe

On the other side of a blockage, water can always return to its source. Pressure buildup there isn’t a problem, yet pipes should be insulated and exposed to heating along their entire lengths. In northern climates, they’re usually installed inside of building insulation. Although not completely immune to problems during extremely cold weather, pipes in northern climates can be further protected by sealing any holes in the building.

In homes built in southern climates, water pipes are more often found in unprotected areas since sub-freezing temperatures occur so rarely. Contractors and homeowners often overlook the need for insulation. A lack of protection means exposed pipes are more vulnerable during southern cold spells. More cracks or openings in walls—especially where TV, cable, and phone lines enter—and the wind chill effect can accelerate ice blockage in pipes.

Potential Damage from Pipe Bursts

Pipes are most at risk from freezing in unheated areas of your home. A heating system failure can, however, increase the risk of freezing anywhere. The higher up the break occurs, the more space the water has to fall because it is under the influence of gravity. It will continue until it reaches the lowest floor, basement, or crawlspace, causing water damage to every flooring material, piece of furniture, and structural component it touches.

Mold is another potential problem. It doesn’t take long to form in the presence of moisture, and it can crop up long after the initial cleanup. Mold can cause further property damage and trigger allergies, asthma, and other health conditions. It can be particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems.

If you have an older home, cleaning up after a broken water pipe can expose you to other dangers. Lead-based paint can be problematic in damaged areas. Asbestos in old homes can be broken loose during a break, or the clean-up process can release asbestos dust into the air. Microscopic abrasive fibers can damage sensitive respiratory tissues and lead to serious health problems over time.

What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze

Once a pipe has burst and water is flooding your home, get to the shut-off valve immediately. Call your local 24-hour plumber for help finding the break and to send an experienced professional to repair the pipe. If the pipe is frozen but hasn’t yet burst, you can thaw it out by:

  • Using a portable space heater, electric heating pad, hair dryer, or hot-water-soaked towel.
  • Slowly moving the heat source toward the coldest spot you can find.
  • Turning on the faucet, letting water run until the pipe thaws out.

Continue applying heat until full water pressure is restored. Be sure to check other faucets as well; if one pipe has frozen, it’s safe to assume others may have.

However, you don’t want to concentrate the heat on a single location. If the ice cracks, it can shatter the pipe. Nor do you want to use a blowtorch or any device with an open flame for thawing pipes, due to the fire risks. Call a plumber if you can’t reach the frozen area or if you suspect there is one, especially if you turn on a faucet and the water just trickles out.

dripping tap

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing

If you are in the middle of a cold spell, there are limited options for eliminating the causes of the problem. However, during cold weather, here are ways you can prevent pipes from freezing:

  • Close garage doors to minimize contact between cold air and water supply lines.
  • Let cold water drip from faucets; running water helps prevent freezing.
  • Open kitchen/bathroom cabinets to bring warmer air closer to plumbing.
  • Set the thermostat to the same temperature, day and night.
  • Keep the heat no lower than 55°F when away from home.

These long-term solutions can protect your home and pipes during future cold spells:

  • Insulate basements, crawlspaces, and attics that don’t have insulation already.
  • Seal cracks and openings around doors, windows, and near the foundation.
  • Drain any water from swimming pools and water sprinkler supply lines.
  • Remove and drain any outdoor hoses and store them indoors.
  • Close inside hose bib supply valves and open outside valves so water can expand without breaking your pipes.

Before an impending freeze, you might realize your home has insufficient insulation. There’s little time to schedule a renovation. You can, however, drain and stow away hoses, drain your swimming pool circulation system, and cover vents around the foundation. A quick way to protect faucets and exposed pipes is to wrap them in newspaper, plastic foam, or trash bags. Old rags can prevent frozen pipes as well.

These steps may protect your pipes in cold weather. This, in turn, can help you avoid losses associated with water damage. Contact your insurance company right away if pipe breakage and water damage do occur. The sooner you file a written claim, the more protected you may be.

Plumber at Work

Also, review your coverage to see whether property repairs, debris removal, and living expenses (if you need to find temporary housing) are covered. Temporary repairs may be required by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Don’t fix anything permanently, or your claim may be denied. Be sure to keep photos and videos of the damage, as well as receipts for any bills associated with temporary repairs or housing costs.

The concern about frozen water pipes is that many insurance policies don’t cover them unless you’ve taken reasonable care to maintain your heating system, drain water from your plumbing system, and shut off the water supply.

Suspect You Have a Frozen Pipe? Call a Plumber

Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing provides all types of plumbing service, including leak repair and emergency services. You can call a technician in Austin or San Antonio who can tell you how to unfreeze pipes or find your water supply shut-off valve.

If in immediate need of service and a 24-hour plumber, call us or request service online, letting us know what the problem is so our technicians are ready to fix it as soon as they arrive. To reach our Austin office, call 512-246-5400. To reach us in San Antonio, call 210-651-1212 today.


  1. http://disastersafety.org/wp-content/uploads/Freezing-Bursting-Pipes_IBHS.pdf

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