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Bathroom Plumbing 101: Removing and Preventing Mold & Mildew

Posted on October 25th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

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

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

What Is Mold?

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

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

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

What Is Mildew?

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

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

What Are Some Common Causes of Mold and Mildew?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you effectively remove mold and mildew?

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

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

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

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

How do you prevent mold and mildew from returning?

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

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

woman housekeeping ventilation cleaning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plumber caulking bath tube with silicone glue using cartridge

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

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

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

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

Kitchen Sink Plumbing 101: Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

Posted on October 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

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

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

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

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

Food waste disposer machine.

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

Step 1: Wash the inside of the disposal.

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

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

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

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

Step 3: Remove difficult buildup from the disposal chamber.

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

Step 4: Freshen up the disposal.

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

How frequently should I clean my garbage disposal?

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

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

Woman Looking At Male Plumber Cleaning Clogged Sink Pipe

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

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

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

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How Do You Remove Hard Water Spots & Lime?

Posted on October 4th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

housekeeper cleaning a hotel room toilet

Unless you’re truly obsessive about cleaning your pipes and fixtures, it’s likely that they’ll start to develop hard water spots, stains, lime deposits, and other signs of wear over time. The good news is that even especially bad cases can be cleaned away with the proper methods.

What Is Hard Water, Anyway?

“Hard” water is a term that refers to water that contains especially high amounts of minerals. Hard water is formed naturally as groundwater moves through various types of mineral deposits, such as limestone and chalk. As a result, the water picks up compounds containing calcium, magnesium, and other elements.

Although hard water is perfectly natural and may even provide valuable minerals through drinking water, it can cause a variety of problems when it’s used in home or commercial plumbing. In addition to the spots and stains discussed here, hard water can build up in appliances, reduce water heater efficiency, dry out your skin and hair, and exacerbate soap scum.

To combat hard water, many homes have a water softening system. There are various types of water softeners, but most of them use a type of salt to remove the “hard” mineral ions and replace them with “soft” sodium ions. With this exchange, the newly softened water doesn’t leave behind troublesome mineral deposits.

How Hard Water Creates Spots, Stains, and Lime Buildup

When water evaporates, any compounds that cannot evaporate into a gas will be left behind on the surface beneath it. Salt water, for example, will leave a crusty deposit of crystalline salt when it is boiled down. Similarly, water that contains a high mineral content will leave behind a deposit of minerals when it evaporates. If hard water regularly splashes onto your faucet and is left to dry out on its own, your faucet will be left with splotchy mineral spots where the water used to be.

the old brass tap on wall

Hard water stains can also occur in bathroom plumbing fixtures like tubs and toilets when the minerals are deposited at the waterline again and again. This kind of buildup often discolors the area and is much harder to scrape off with normal cleaning methods.

Lime deposits, commonly referred to as “limescale,” tend to be composed mostly of calcium carbonate and can manifest in troublesome ways in water heaters and hot water pipes. As lime builds up in layers inside of pipes, it can restrict water flow in ways that can lead to clogged drainpipes, appliance malfunction, and other issues requiring professional plumbing repair.

Removing Hard Water Spots and Limescale

Because mineral deposits are physically hard and can become quite thick over time, removing them often requires more than just physical effort to break down the structure of the buildup. There is a variety of cleaning chemicals available on the market for hard water stains and lime deposits, but you can also try battling them with some simple, at-home ingredients.

Vinegar for Surface Spots on Faucets and Hardware

To remove unsightly surface spots and restore the shine of your hardware:

  1. Soak a sufficiently sized rag in undiluted vinegar, and then carefully place it over the faucet, allowing it to cling tightly to the areas covered with hard water spots.
  2. Allow the vinegar rag to sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Over time, the vinegar will break down the tough mineral deposits on the surface of the metal without damaging the fixture itself. Naturally, the worse the buildup is, the longer you’ll want to let it sit.
  3. When enough time has passed, remove the vinegar-soaked rag and begin using a soft sponge to rub away the buildup.
  4. If spots remain, repeat the process until all the deposits have been broken down and removed.

Vinegar Soak for Aerators, Sprayers, and Shower Heads

To improve spray pressure and restore the look of hardware:

  1. Soak the affected parts in a sufficient amount of vinegar for 30 minutes or more (longer for more extensive buildup).
  2. When you feel the vinegar has had enough time to work, use a toothbrush or another small-bristle brush to scrub the head and get into the holes of the hardware.
  3. Rinse and examine the part. If there are still mineral deposits clogging the spray head or staining the outside, place it in a fresh container of vinegar and allow it to soak again.

Vinegar and Baking Soda for Toilet and Tub Stains

metallic chromed tap and the ceramic bathtub

To remove unsightly discoloring stains from bathtubs and toilet bowls:

  1. Add a cup of baking soda to toilet or tub water, followed by 1-2 cups of vinegar. It will fizz up, creating a foam that will sit at the waterline (which should be roughly around the area of the buildup).
  2. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and then swish it around with a toilet brush. Do not flush!
  3. Let it sit for another half hour or so, swishing it around occasionally.
  4. Scrub away any remaining buildup with the toilet brush.
  5. Finally, rinse the toilet bowl by flushing.

Borax Paste for Really Tough Deposits

To combat especially stubborn mineral buildup:

  1. Mix half a cup of borax with a small amount of vinegar to create a thick paste.
  2. Your tub or toilet should be empty of water. For toilets, shut off the water to the fixture and flush to drain the water out of the bowl.
  3. Apply the paste to the hard water stains. You’ll probably want to use gloves or a tool for this.
  4. Let the paste sit on the deposits for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  5. Use a stiff brush (and some elbow grease) to scrub away the stains.
  6. When finished, you can rinse the paste and debris away. For toilets, turn the water back on, allow the bowl to refill, and then flush to rinse.

When Cleaning Isn’t Enough

Sometimes, no matter how much you try to clean them away, the hard water stains and lime deposits just won’t budge to your satisfaction. There are also some places your scrub brush simply can’t reach—like inside your pipes or water heater. When you’re out of DIY options to combat hard water problems, it’s time to turn to the experts at a trusted plumbing company like ours.

Our professional local plumbers have heavy-duty tools and cleaning agents available to them that can help restore your mineral-encrusted fixtures and plumbing. We can also diagnose related plumbing issues, fix or replace any damaged pipes and fixtures, and get you set up with a reliable water softener. By actively softening your water ahead of time, you can prevent the development of hard water and limescale deposits that could cause you serious problems in the future.

We’ll Make Sure Your Plumbing Is as Good as It Looks

At Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we offer a wide range of plumbing services to home and business owners throughout central Texas. Whether limescale in your appliances is driving up your energy bill or you need emergency assistance for an overflowing toilet, our trained technicians are available to help you 24/7.

To learn more or find out if we can help you with your specific issues, contact us online today! If you need emergency service, call us at the location nearest you.

(512) 246-5400

San Antonio
(210) 651-1212

(254) 773-7175

New Braunfels
(830) 627-2211

Why Is My Water Taking So Long to Heat?

Posted on September 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

No one wants to wait around for a hot shower, especially when it feels like it’s taking forever to get to the temperature you want. If you’re feeling frustrated by waiting for your morning shower, waiting for your water to heat up to do the dishes, or if you’re ever worried about the water in your laundry not doing what it’s supposed to, it could be time to repair or replace your hot water heater.

shower head in bathroom

Hot water heater problems aren’t uncommon. Some of them can be easily fixed. However, if you’ve had your water heater for a long time, standard plumbing services might not always be the “quick” solution. In some cases, you may need to consider a new water heater installation.

So, what are the signs it might be time for water heater maintenance? When can you tell if it needs to be replaced?

What’s the Hold-Up?

First, it’s important to understand the different possible reasons as to why your hot water heater might be taking so long to heat up your water. There are several possibilities to consider, including:

  • Sediment buildup
  • Distance from the faucet
  • Age of water heater

Obviously, these are very different problems with very different solutions. In the case of sediment buildup, you may be able to get away with a water heater repair/cleaning that allows your heater to last many more years.

However, if you have an old heater than just seems to be failing no matter what, it could be time to replace it.

brown hot water faucet

Replacing a Hot Water Heater

Is replacing your hot water heater an investment? Yes—but it could end up saving you money in different ways. First, if your water heater always seems to be on the fritz, it’s not fair to you to have to call a plumber to your home all the time to fix it. That adds up quickly and may not be a permanent fix.

Older hot water heaters also don’t run as efficiently as newer models. Energy efficiency is extremely important when it comes to appliances nowadays. Thankfully, most hot water heaters manufactured today are far more energy-efficient than the ones built in the past. This will save you money on your utility bills right away.

You can also choose from different options when you’re considering a new hot water heater. For example, if you want your water to get hot as quickly as possible, a tankless water heater might be the best solution for your home.

At Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we pride ourselves on our years of experience and knowledge in the plumbing industry. Not only can we repair and maintain water heaters, but we can replace them for you. If you aren’t getting the hot water you need throughout your home, feel free to give us a call. One of our experts will be happy to come out and diagnose the problem. You and your family deserve the comfort of hot water, and we can make sure you’ll enjoy it for years to come!

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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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