Call the Plumber and Avoid a Nightmare

High Heating Bill? Why Your Furnace Might Need To Be Serviced

You may begin to notice that your home has much higher energy bills. You try to turn down the heat, but you already have it as low as it will go without the temperature dropping to very uncomfortable levels. This ongoing problem might be the result of your HVAC system being defective.

The Filter Needs to Be Replaced

If you do not change your filter regularly, the filter will become clogged and will cause your heater to become less efficient. Some filters need to be completely replaced, while others can be removed and cleaned before replacing them.

The Duct Need to Be Sealed

Your higher heating bills might be the result of your air ducts needing to be sealed. Your ducts are releasing hot air that is not entering the rooms where it is needed. This forces your furnace to work harder to generate the necessary heat, which raises your heating bill.

The Thermostat Isn’t Wired Correctly

Another issue is when the thermostat is wired incorrectly. This can cause the HVAC system to heat and cool at the same time, which can be very counter-productive. When the AC is running in the winter, you might not notice because the hot and cold air is mixed together, so you won’t notice cold air coming out of your vents. A faulty thermostat could also cause your HVAC to incorrectly read the temperature in the ambient air, working harder to raise the temperature above what you set on the thermostat. If you notice that your home is uncomfortably hot even though you did not raise the thermostat, this may be the problem.

The Furnace Needs More Frequent Repairs

If the heater is 20-years-old or older, it may be reaching the end of its life and you may need to replace it. Other warning signs of a heater that is about to go include having some rooms that are hotter or colder than others, the furnace cycling on and off more frequently, a furnace that rattles and produces other noises, an excessive amount of dust, soot and other particles produced by the furnace and signs of rust or cracking. If you are frequently making repairs, you might be within two years of your furnace completely breaking down. Rather than be left without one, it is better to purchase a new one. However, if the heater is younger, a heating repair technician, such as Encore Mechanical Inc., can diagnose and repair your heater. Your energy savings will offset the cost.

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How To Keep Your Bathroom Drains In Good Shape

The drains in your bathroom are put through a lot. They have a good deal of chunks of soap and toothpaste go down them and get stuck on the sides. They also see their fair share of whiskers and hair that go down them. This makes the drains in your bathroom very susceptible to clogging. You should do what you can to prevent those clogs by keeping the drains clean on a regular basis. This article will give you tips on how to prevent clogs in your bathroom.

Watch what goes into the drain

The first thing you want to do is to make sure you do your best to keep anything except water and soap residue from going down the drains. You can purchase strainer drain plugs for your bathroom sinks if you find that you have a hard time keeping things that should not go down the drains from going down them.

When anyone in your household shaves, they should set a bowl of water near the sink to rinse the razor in. This will prevent the hair from going in the drain. A good way for them to empty the bowl is to toss it in a garden area. The hair will help to keep some pests out of the garden.

A good way to make sure a lot of hair doesn’t go down the bathtub drain when you shower or take a bath is to brush your hair before you get in. This will cut down on the amount of hair that comes out while you are showering.

Clean your sinks, bathtubs and showers correctly

You want to make sure you clean your sinks, bathtubs and showers in a way that won’t cause future damage to the drains. Harsh chemicals can take a toll on your plumbing pipes after a while and cause you serious plumbing problems in the future. For this reason, you should use cleaners that are safer for your plumbing, such as vinegar.

Dealing with a clogged drain

If you do experience a clogged drain, you can try to clear it up by pouring very hot water down the drain. If that doesn’t work, you can take a sink plunger and try to force the clog down. If it’s a stubborn clog then it is best for you to call out a professional plumber like RK Knight Plumbing to unclog it. They will also be able to tell if the clog is being caused by a bigger plumbing problem that needs addressing.

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What To Do When Your Pipes Are Frozen

When the weather gets cold and you lose your supply of water to frozen pipes, you could face an expensive plumber’s bill or water damage to your home. It is often possible to fix on your own, though you should take care to avoid many possible problems, like causing pipes to burst or melt. Before you start trying to heat the ice, you should do a little safety preparation to try to minimize the chance of damage.

Inspect Your Pipes

To fix a frozen pipe, you should find out where the frozen water is concentrated; trying to warm up the entire length of pipe is tedious and ineffective. You can find frozen areas by tapping on the pipe and listening for sections that don’t sound hollow. Finding these areas helps you decide what tools you can safely use. For example, while you can use a blow dryer on copper pipes in an open area of your basement, you should not use one on plastic pipes underneath your bathroom sink.

Also look for any signs of cracking. Because water expands when it freezes, much of the damage to your pipes can occur before water flow has even been restored. In addition, if a pipe is cracked, melting the ice inside can cause the pipe to burst and flood. If a frozen pipe is cracked, you shouldn’t try to warm it; if you want to try anyway, just be sure you know where the shutoff valve is in case you need to quickly turn off your water.

Open Your Faucets

A frozen pipe causes a buildup in water pressure, and that water will need somewhere to go after the pipe has been unfrozen. To alleviate this issue, open your faucets slightly before you get to work. Don’t open them all the way, as this can cause a sudden flood of water, but opening them halfway (or to a drip) can allow water to escape.

You can also shut off the main water supply to your house to prevent any additional water from entering the pipes before you’ve finished working.

Use a Space Heater

A space heater is a less severe method of warming your pipes; it can take longer, but it avoids the focused heat of a blow dryer. Warming the ice more slowly can reduce the chance of damage, and it can also affect pipes that are inside nearby walls that you can’t reach by hand. They are most effective under sinks and in enclosed spaces where they can quickly warm up the whole area by a noticeable amount. Space heaters are also safer for plastic pipes than applying direct heat.

Pads and Towels

Another safe method of applying heat is by wrapping the affected areas in an electric heating pad or towel soaked with hot water. Even once some water flow has been restored, you should keep this up until full water pressure has been restored so you can verify that most of the ice has been dissolved.

Add Pipe Insulation

It may not seem like pipe insulation will do much if your pipes are already frozen, but using it in conjunction with applying heat to the frozen area can help keep the pipes warmer longer, and can reduce the risk that they will freeze again. Adding insulation also helps in older houses because many older pipes don’t come with any of their own insulation.

When to Call a Plumber

Sometimes a plumber may be necessary. If you are unable to reach the frozen pipes because they are in the walls or under the floor, or if you have been trying unsuccessfully for hours, a professional will be able to help fix the problem effectively. You should also consider a plumber if you aren’t comfortable using tools or if you don’t want to risk causing any damage to your home.

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What Does It Mean If Your Sump Pump Won’t Stop Running?

Sump pumps can break in the “on” position for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common reasons that a sump pump would turn on and then stay on is because of a part of the sump pump called the float switch. The float switch controls when the sump pump turns on and off. If the float switch breaks, the sump pump could remain on even when there’s no water to be pumped. If the sump pump stays on, this could cause the motor on the pump to burn out pretty quickly.

Can the float switch be fixed?

Fixing the float switch on the sump pump would likely require the help of a professional (unless you’re very mechanically inclined). However, there is another solution–one that can easily be handled by many DIYers. To fix the problem, you can buy a mechanical float.

What is a mechanical float?

A mechanical float is a switch that comes separate from the sump pump. It has a piggyback power cord that gets plugged in first, and the sump pump is plugged into the switch. The switch then controls the power to the sump. To install the mechanical float, you’ll buoy it to something in the sump pump pit, usually the sump pump itself. When the water in the pit rises, the float rises up and the switch is activated. When the water level drops, the float drops with it and shuts off the pump.

How can you install a mechanical float?

Cut the power to the outlet that controls the sump pump, then unplug the sump pump. Plug in the mechanical float, then plug the sump pump into the piggyback part of the mechanical float’s power cord. Put the mechanical float into the sump pump pit. The mechanical float will likely have a metal bracket you can use to tether the float to the sump pump, but a plastic zip tie will have the same effect and will be easier to use.

Tether the float to the pump, giving it a few inches of slack so the float can rise and fall with the water levels in the pit. Then, turn the power back on to the sump pump. Fill the pit with water and see if the float works. If the float doesn’t work, then it’s time to contact a plumbing professional like AA Plumbing. He or she can help you fix your problem.

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Solar Water Heaters: Factors to Consider before Installing One

When you are thinking about replacing your current water heater with a solar model, you need to consider a few factors. In many cases, considering these aspects and gathering additional information can help you determine if a solar water heater is a good option for your home.

Solar Collection

First, you will need to consider which method you prefer for collecting sunlight.  Flat plates are the most common method for collecting sunlight. These plates send the energy they collect to a battery pack that is used to power the water heater. This method is very similar to traditional panels that people use when adding solar power to their home.

The other option you can choose is evacuated tubes that collect sunlight and then uses it to heat the water. What makes this method different is that the water flows from inside your house, through the center of the tubes where it gets hot and then back into your home. Instead of relying on a battery to supply the water heater with energy, the tubes collect and distribute the heat needed to warm up your water.

Backup Energy Source

The next thing you need to consider the type of backup energy source you want for the water heater. It is important to have the system connected to an electrical or natural gas source, so that if something should happen, such as a broken solar panel, you can still have access to hot water.

Another situation that can cause you to need the backup power source is if multiple people use up the hot water during the nighttime. Since the water heater relies on sunlight to heat the water, you would need to wait until the next day to have hot water. Even if this is a rare occasion, it is still a good idea to have the water heater hooked up to an alternative power source for emergencies.


Unlike a traditional water heater, you may require the assistance of two companies to install a solar water heater. For example, if the plumber you want to hire does not have experience with installing the solar portions, then it is best to have a separate company handle this part of the installation process.

As for the rest of the installation process, most plumbers can place the tank and hook up the water line for you. The plumber can also test the system to make sure it is receiving power from the solar panels or tubes, so you can have hot water when you want it.

Solar powered water heaters are a good option when you want a green option for heating your water. However, before choosing this model type, it is best to gather additional information and consult a plumber like Brother’s Plumbing in your area. The plumber can give you the pros and cons of the system and help install it if you choose this option.

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Unclogging Bathroom Drains In Your Home

Your bathroom plumbing is put through a lot of everyday wear and tear. It may also be put through more stress than it should be if you aren’t careful. The wrong things are often flushed and sinks see a lot more hair than they should. If your sink or toilet gets clogged, you want to know how to unclog it yourself. This article will take you through the process of unclogging each one.

Unclogging your bathroom sink

If you have a clog in your bathroom sink, you should start by removing any hair trapped in the drain. To do this, you need to remove the sink stopper. You can usually remove it by turning it to the left. Some other models require you to unscrew the stopper nut on the bottom of the sink by rotating it to the right. Then, you’ll pull out the rod and release the stopper so you can pull it out of the sink.

The stopper is going to have a good collection of disturbing looking gunk on it. Clean the stopper off by scrubbing it with an old toothbrush before you put it back in the drain.

Take a wire coat hanger and cut about 6 to 8 inches of the straight part. Take pliers and create a small hook on one end. Stick the hook end of the coat hanger carefully in the drain and use it to scoop out any hair or other debris in the drain. Remove the debris from the sink and throw it away.

The water should start going down as you remove the debris. If it doesn’t, you can unclog the sink by using a sink plunger, or by pouring a small bucket of extremely hot water slowly down the drain.

Unclogging your toilet

If your toilet gets clogged you should try your plunger first. If this doesn’t work, then you can take a large bucket of extremely hot water (not quite to the boiling point though) and pour it in a fast force down the toilet. Immediately take the plunger and use it again with the hot water in the bowl.

If you continue to have problems with your toilet clogging, you may need to use a plumbing snake. You can purchase one at your local hardware store. You will carefully put the snake down the toilet and wind the handle until you feel pressure. At this point, the snake should force the clog free.

Keeping your drains clean by not allowing hair or whiskers down them will help keep them from clogging. Also, not flushing anything other than human waste and toilet paper will help prevent your toilets from clogging. If you continue to have problems, you should call a plumber, like those at Roto-Rooter, out to investigate.

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5 Common Issues With Water Heaters

While a water heater works behind the scenes most of the time, they can gradually develop problems. If you’ve never been forced to deal with a malfunctioning water heater, you may think that the only solution is to replace the entire unit. However, diagnosing water heater issues can be easy if you know what to look for. Below, you will find a list of the top five water heater problems.

  • A lack of heat: This issue’s causes differ depending on whether your heater runs on gas or electricity. With a gas water heater, your first step should be to check its pilot light. If there’s no flame, there may be an issue with your gas supply—and you’ll need to call the utility company. If the pilot light won’t stay lit, there may be an issue with the control valve or the thermocouple. For electric heaters, check the breaker box first. If the breaker has tripped, reset it by turning it off and then back on. Persistent issues may signal a problem with the heating element or thermostat. Working around gas and electricity is dangerous and you shouldn’t try to fix it yourself; call a plumber.
  • Insufficient heating: If you’re going through hot water faster than normal, there may be several reasons. In some cases, sediment can build up in the bottom of the heater tank, displacing water. The thermostat could be broken, or the dip tube could be damaged. The tube pushes cold water to the tank’s bottom; if it breaks, cold water can seep into the top of the tank as heated water flows out. Your plumber will flush the sediment out of the heater during regular maintenance.
  • A foul odor: All heater tanks corrode eventually, and rust in the water is a reliable indicator. Corrosion can build up on the anode rods that protect the tank walls, or it can affect the tank. Decaying anodes can create hydrogen, which feeds the bacteria living in the sediment at the bottom of the tank. As bacteria multiply, your water may take on a foul odor. If the corrosion isn’t too bad, a plumber can replace the anode rods and extend the life of your water heater for a few more years.
  • Noisy operation: Popping or rumbling coming from the heater tank is an indication of sediment buildup, which can cause the water within to overheat. An electric water heater can make a whining noise as lime builds up on the heating elements. A plumber can solve the problem by flushing the tank and soaking the heating element in a de-liming product.
  • Leaks: A leak can occur for several reasons: it could come from the TPR (temperature pressure relief) valve, a worn gasket or fitting, or from the tank. If the TPR valve leaks, call a plumber right away.

Even a well-maintained water heater will eventually reach the end of its life. By being on the lookout for these issues, and by calling a plumber when needed, you can keep your water heater working properly for years.

For professional plumbing services, contact a company such as Two Men And A Snake.

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